STATE OF NEW YORK
DIVISION OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL
OFFICE OF RENT ADMINISTRATION
92-31 UNION HALL STREET
JAMAICA, NEW YORK 11433
IN THE MATTER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
APPEAL OF DOCKET NO.: HH630012RO
ZENITH ASSOCIATES RENT
ORDER AND OPINION DENYING PETITION FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW
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
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
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