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

          APPEAL OF                               DOCKET NO.:  HH630012RO
          ZENITH ASSOCIATES                       RENT
                                                  ADMINISTRATOR'S DOCKET 
                                                  NO.: GD630069B

               On August 2, 1993 the above named petitioner-owner filed a 
          Petition for Administrative Review against an order of the Rent 
          Administrator issued on July 1, 1993. The order concerned the 
          housing accommodations located at 124 East 176th Street, Bronx, 
          N.Y.  The Administrator directed restoration of services and 
          ordered a rent reduction for failure to maintain required services.  

               The Commissioner has reviewed the record and carefully 
          considered that portion relevant to the issues raised by this 

               This proceeding was commenced on April 15, 1992 when 33 
          tenants of this 71 unit building joined in filing a Statement of 
          Complaint of Decrease in Building-Wide Services wherein they 
          alleged, in sum, that the owner was not maintaining certain 
          required building-wide services.  The Commissioner notes that two 
          other building-wide complaints (Docket Nos. GJ630095B and 
          GK630098B) were filed by the tenants of this building and were
          consolidated with the instant proceeding by the Administrator.

               The owner was served with a copy of the complaints and 
          afforded an opportunity to respond. The owner filed a response on 
          February 9, 1993 and stated, in relevant part, that it was 
          maintaining services or that repairs would be made where 
          appropriate.  The owner's response to the tenants' complaint of 
          defective public area windows was that new windows were being 
          installed and that the installation would be completed in March of 

               The tenant representative filed a reply to the above-described 
          response on March 10, 1993 and disputed the owner's assertions that 
          services were being maintained.


               The Administrator ordered a physical inspection of the subject 
          building.  The building was first inspected on January 22, 1993.  
          After the owner's response on February, 1993, the Administrator 
          ordered the building to be reinspected.  The subsequent inspections 
          were carried out on May 7, 1993 and May 10, 1993.  The inspector 
          reported the following:

                    1.   Westside roof door has alarm lock however lock sign 
                         is missing and door is not locked;

                    2.   Westside ceiling underneath the stairs leading to 
                         the bulkhead between the seventh floor and the roof 
                         has blistered paint and waterstains;

                    3.   Loose marble step between the third and fourth 
                         floors on the westside;

                    4.   Intercoms not maintained in Apts. 1D, 2F, 4B, 4I, 
                         7A and 7B;

                    5.   Electric buzzer strike plate at vestibule door is 
                         missing; and

                    6.   Elevator doors open between floors.

          All other services were reported as being maintained.

               The Administrator issued the order being appealed on July 1, 
          1993.  The inspector's report was set forth and the Administrator 
          noted that the records of the New York City Department of Buildings 
          confirmed the tenants' allegations with regard to the condition 
          reported concerning the elevator.  Accordingly, the Administrator 
          ordered a rent reduction of an amount equal to the percentage of 
          the most recent guideline adjustment for tenants' leases commencing 
          prior to June 1, 1992.  Only the tenants of Apts. 1D, 2F, 4B, 4I, 
          7A and 7B were granted a rent reduction based on the finding 
          relating to defective intercoms.

               On appeal, the owner states that the roof door cannot be 
          locked by law as it is an emergency exit; that several alternative 
          security devices were installed on the door; that the blistered 
          paint and waterstain condition was repaired on or before May 10, 
          1993; that the condition regarding the marble step is too trivial 
          to warrant a rent reduction; that the condition relating to the 
          electric buzzer strike plate is being caused by tenant vandalism; 
          that the Department of Buildings report described above does not 
          establish that the elevator stopped between floors; that the report 
          was for a period 11 months before the order being appealed was 
          issued; and that the intercom system was also subject to vandalism.  
          The petition was served on the tenants on August 19, 1993.
               One tenant filed a response on August 28, 1993 and stated, in 
          substance, that the owner's petition was without merit and that the 


          order here under review should be affirmed.
               After careful review of the evidence in the record, the 
          Commissioner is of the opinion that the petition should be denied.

               Pursuant to Section 2523.4 of the Rent Stabilization Code, 
          tenants may file complaints alleging that the owner is not 
          maintaining required services and the Administrator shall reduce 
          the rent upon finding that such services have not been maintained.  
          Required services are those services the owner was required to 
          maintain on the applicable base date including repairs and 

               The Commissioner is of the opinion that the Administrator 
          based this determination on the entire record including the results 
          of the on-site physical inspections described above and the records 
          of the New York City Department of Buildings.  The owner's 
          assertions on appeal are not supported by the evidence in the 

               With regard to the finding regarding the roof door, the 
          inspector's report stated that the door had an alarm lock but that 
          the door was not locked at the time of the inspection.  While the 
          owner is correct in arguing that the New York City Housing 
          Maintenance Code prohibits the locking of emergency exits, the 
          inspections revealed that the subject door had an alarm lock and 
          that the door was not locked.  The Administrator correctly directed 
          the owner to restore the alarm lock.

               The findings regarding the blistered and waterstained 
          ceilings, loose step, defective intercoms and strike plate relate 
          to the allegations contained in the three complaints which have 
          been consolidated under Docket No. GD630069B.  The owner has not 
          rebutted the inspector's reports nor does the defense of vandalism 
          relieve the owner of its responsibility, under the Rent 
          Stabilization Code, to maintain required services.

               With regard to the owner's arguments relating to the elevator 
          condition, the Commissioner notes that the Administrator correctly 
          examined the elevator inspection records of the Department of 
          Buildings.  The records revealed that a violation had been issued 
          by the Department on August 10, 1992, while the complaint was 
          pending before the Administrator. The violation confirmed the 
          allegations contained in the complaint. The order being appealed
          is affirmed.

               The automatic stay of the retroactive rent abatement which 
          resulted from the filing of this petition for administrative review 
          is vacated upon issuance of this order and opinion.  The 
          Commissioner notes that the owner's rent restoration application 
          (Docket No. HG610203OR) has been denied by the Administrator.


               THEREFORE, pursuant to the Rent Stabilization Law and Code, it 

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


                                             LULA M. ANDERSON  
                                             Deputy Commissioner

TenantNet Home | TenantNet Forum | New York Tenant Information
DHCR Information | DHCR Decisions | Housing Court Decisions | New York Rent Laws
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Subscribe to our Mailing List!
Your Email      Full Name