OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
                                     GERTZ PLAZA
                               92-31 UNION HALL STREET
                               JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433

      ------------------------------------X  S.J.R. NO.: 6937
      APPEAL OF                              DOCKET NO.: EJ430319RO
                                             DOCKET NO.: DE430128OM
                            PETITIONER   : 


      On October 29, 1990 the above-named petitioner-owner filed an 
      administrative appeal against an order issued on October 9, 1990 by the 
      Rent Administrator (92-31 Union Hall Street, Jamaica, New York) concerning 
      the housing accommodations known as 801 West End Avenue, New York, New 
      York, various apartments, wherein the Administrator denied major capital 
      improvement (MCI) rent increases for the controlled and stabilized 
      apartments in the subject premises for the installation of replacement 
      windows and new mailboxes based on a determination that the windows were 
      installed on a piecemeal basis during a two year and four month period and 
      the mailboxes were not relocated from an outer vestibule to an inner 

      Subsequent thereto the owner filed a petition in the Supreme Court pursuant 
      to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules seeking an order of 
      mandamus.  This resulted in a court ordered stipulation remitting the 
      proceeding for a determination of the owner's administrative appeal herein.

      In this petition the owner contends, in substance, that the windows were 
      not installed on a piecemeal basis; that the windows were installed 
      pursuant to a single contract with one contractor as part of a unified 
      plan; that the window installation took a prolonged period of time because 
      many tenants refused access therefor, and that the Rent Administrator 
      erroneously disallowed a rent increase for new mailboxes installed in the 
      same location.

      In response, various tenants assert, in substance, that the window 
      installation took so long because "the owners tried several times to induce 
      the renters to purchase [the windows]" and not because of any fault on the 
      part of the tenants; that the window installation was piecemeal; and that 
      the owner was not entitled to a rent increase for either the window or 
      mailbox installations.  Various tenants confirmed that they either were 
      paying a 1/40th rent increase or had paid in full for replacement windows 
      installed in their respective apartments.

      After careful consideration, the Commissioner is of the opinion that this 
      petition should be denied.

      Rent increases for major capital improvements are authorized by Section 
      2202.4 of the Rent and Eviction Regulations for rent controlled apartments 
      and Section 2522.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code for rent stabilized 


          ADMIN. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: EJ430319RO/SJR 6937

      apartments.  Under rent control, an increase is warranted where there has 
      been since July 1, 1970 a major capital improvement required for the 
      operation, preservation, or maintenance of the structure.  Under rent 
      stabilization, the improvement must generally be building-wide; depreciable 
      under the Internal Revenue Code, other than for ordinary repairs; required 
      for the operation, preservation, and maintenance of the structure; and 
      replace an item whose useful life has expired.

      It is the established position of the Division that the building-wide 
      installation of new thermal apartment and/or public area windows to replace 
      windows that are 25 or more years old (as is the case herein) constitutes 
      a major capital improvement for which a rent increase may be warranted, 
      provided the owner otherwise so qualifies.  In this respect the 
      Commissioner notes that work of a piecemeal nature or ordinary repairs and 
      maintenance does not qualify as a major capital improvement.

      The record indicates that the window installation herein was commenced in 
      September, 1986 and completed in January, 1989, two years and four months 
      later.  Although the owner contends that said installation took a prolonged 
      period of time because many tenants refused access to the contractor, there 
      is no evidence in the record to establish that any attempts to obtain 
      access were made by the owner and/or were refused by tenants.  Compliance 
      with every other aspect of the Code and Regulations is not sufficient 
      where, as in the instant case, the installation was performed in a 
      piecemeal fashion.  

      It is noted that the owner's reliance on two prior Administrative Review 
      orders to support its contention that the instant window installation was 
      not piecemeal is misplaced.  In Administrative Review Docket No. 
      DB530003RO, the Commissioner found that the window installation therein 
      substantially complied with the requirements for a major capital 
      improvement based on the facts and circumstances therein, including the 
      owner's indications that the installation, which was performed by three 
      contractors during a 20 month period, was prolonged for economic reasons.  

      In Administrative Review Docket No. BC110041RO, the Commissioner found that 
      the subsequent replacement of windows in five out of a total of six 
      apartments, performed by one contractor during a two month period, 
      qualified as a major capital improvement.  The Commissioner further found 
      that the Administrator had correctly disallowed the owner's claim for the 
      initial window installation, which was performed three years earlier in the 
      owner's apartment and was clearly intended solely for the owner's benefit.  
      The owner's contention, raised on appeal, that the Commissioner had 
      determined that a three year window installation was not piecemeal is 

      Regarding the owner's contention that the Administrator erroneously 
      disallowed a rent increase for the new mailboxes installed in the same 
      location, it is the established position of the Division that the 
      installation of mailboxes per se does not constitute a major capital 
      improvement, but rather their structural relocation to a more secure area 
      behind locked doors.  Since the mailboxes in question were reinstalled in 
      the same general location as the old ones, the Administrator properly found 
      them not to qualify as a major capital improvement since said installation 

          ADMIN. REVIEW DOCKET NO.: EJ430319RO/SJR 6937

      did not entail the additional requirement that they be relocated from the 
      outer vestibule to a more secure inner area behind a second set of locked 

      Based upon the foregoing, the Commissioner finds that the Administrator 
      properly determined that the owner was not entitled to a major capital 
      improvement rent increase for the subject installations.

      THEREFORE, in accordance with the provisions of the Rent Stabilization Law 
      and Code and the Rent and Eviction Regulations for New York City, it is

      ORDERED, that this petition be, and the same hereby is, denied, and that 
      the order of the Rent Administrator be, and the same hereby is, affirmed.


                                           JOSEPH A. D'AGOSTA
                                           Deputy Commissioner



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