DHCR FACT SHEET #14
Division of Housing and Community Renewal

RENT REDUCTIONS DUE TO DECREASED SERVICES

Tenants in rent-regulated apartments can file individual and
building-wide complaints if the services provided are inadequate.
That action could result in a rent reduction.

A building-wide service complaint may relate to lack of elevator
service, unsanitary halls, poor security systems, etc. The
process of filing is as follows.

1.  A tenant or group of tenants can file STATEMENT OF COMPLAINT
    OF A DECREASE IN BUILDING-WIDE SERVICES, [DHCR form RA-84];
    or a tenant can file an INDIVIDUAL TENANT STATEMENT OF
    COMPLAINT (DHCR form RA-81) for decreased services in an
    individual apartment. To obtain a rent reduction based on
    service reduction, a rent stabilized tenant must specifically
    request a rent reduction, or if party to a building-wide
    complaint, must be individually listed as one of the
    claimants requesting the rent reduction.

2.  The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) screens
    and dockets complaints and sends the tenant(s) an
    acknowledgment with the docket number.

3.  A copy of the tenant's complaint is sent to the owner with a
    notice to answer the tenant's charges.

4.  The owner can respond to the tenant's charges by making the
    necessary repairs or providing the missing services or
    stating why the alleged condition was not repaired or
    remedied. DHCR will send the tenant a copy of the owner's
    answer if it is relevant to the determination.

5.  The tenant has 20 days from receiving the owner's answer to
    respond to DHCR.

6.  If the tenant claims that the owner's answer is not accurate,
    the DHCR may order an inspection. Often these questions of
    fact cannot be resolved without on-site evidence.

7.  If the evidence indicates that the owner failed to maintain
    required services, DHCR may issue a rent reduction or, if the
    tenant fails to request a rent reduction, DHCR will direct
    the owner to restore the services. A reduction in rent, if
    ordered, will be in effect until the DHCR issues an order
    restoring the rent. In addition, the order finding a
    reduction in services may bar the owner from collecting any
    further increases in rent until full services are restored.

Statewide, if a tenant lives in a rent stabilized apartment and
receives a rent reduction for an individual apartment or a
building-wide service decrease, the order becomes effective the
first day of the month following the date when the owner was
served with the tenant's complaint. The rent reduction consists
of a percentage equal to the guideline increase in effect when
the complaint was filed. If more than one tenant applied, the
rent reduction affects each tenant who signed the building-wide
service complaint application requesting the rent reduction.

If a tenant lives in a rent controlled apartment, the rent
reduction based on either an individual apartment or building-
wide service decrease becomes effective the first day of the
month following DHCR's issuance of the order.

In a building-wide complaint, all NYC rent controlled tenants
will receive the reduction whether or not they signed the
building-wide service complaint application.

The owner may be ordered to restore full services even though a
rent reduction has not been granted. An owner's failure to comply
with the DHCR order requiring restoration of services can result
in even greater penalties, such as fines.

To have the rent restored to its original amount, an owner must
file Owner's Application to Restore Rent and/or Collect Rent
Adjustment [DHCR form RTP- 19 ]. For rent stabilized apartments
outside of NYC, the owner must include a copy of a new
Certificate of Maintenance of Services with the application. An
order will be issued granting or denying the application.

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DHCR Fact Sheets (series of thirty) are issued by the New York
State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) as plain-
english informational publications.  For official agency
policies, see DHCR Policy Statements, Advisory Opinions and
Operational Bulletins. Also refer to the Rent Stabilization Code,
the Rent Stabilization Law and various Rent Control Statutes.

Electronic versions of these documents on TenantNet are for
informational purposes only and there is no guarantee they will
be accepted by any court (or even DHCR) as true copies of DHCR
policy. The reader may obtain true copies of these documents from
DHCR.

Every attempt has been made to conform to the original Fact
Sheets as issued by DHCR; TenantNet makes no
representation the enclosed material is current or will be
applied as written.  The reader is advised that DHCR often fails
to properly apply, interpret or enforce housing laws.  Since
housing laws are complex and often contradictory, it is
recommended the reader obtain competent legal advice from a
tenant attorney or counseling from a tenant association or
community group. (rev. 3/13/96) DHCR documents
are public documents; the electronic version of such documents
have been developed by TenantNet and any added value, enhancements
and/or proprietary features are copyright 1994, 1995 and 1996 by
TenantNet. These documents may be freely distributed provided they
remain intact as herein presented, including this and the top
informational banner referencing TenantNet as the original provider.
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For more information or assistance, call the DHCR Rent Infoline
at (718) 739-6400, or visit your Borough Rent Office.

Queens Central Office
92-31 Union Hall St. 4th Fl.
Jamaica, NY 11433
(718) 739-6400

Bronx
One Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458
(718) 563-5678

Brooklyn
250 Schermerhorn St.
3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 780-9246

Lower Manhattan
156 William Street
9th Floor
NY, NY 10038
(212) 240-6011, 6012
South side of 110th St. and below

Upper Manhattan
163 W. 125th St.
5th Floor
NY, NY 10027
(212) 961-8930
North side of 110th St. and above

Staten Island
350 St. Mark's Place
Room 105
Staten island, NY 10301
(718) 816-0277

Nassau County District Rent Office
50 Clinton Street, 6th Floor
Hempstead, NY 11550
(516) 481-9494

Westchester County District Rent Office
55 Church Street, 3rd Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
(914) 948-4434

Rockland County District Rent Office
94-96 North Main St.
Spring Valley, NY 10977
(914) 425-6575

Albany Regional Office
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
(518) 432-0596

Buffalo Regional Office
Ellicot Square Building
295 Main St., Room 438
Buffalo, NY 14203
(716) 856-1382

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