DHCR FACT SHEET #28
Division of Housing and Community Renewal

PAINTING RENT CONTROLLED APARTMENTS

Painting and decorating service where required to be supplied by
the owner, is considered to be an essential service included in
the maximum rent for a rent controlled apartment. Generally, this
means that the owner must paint the tenant's apartment at two-
year intervals, or at three-year intervals if it was the owner's
practice to paint every third year. Effective August 3,1967, the
Housing Maintenance Code of the City of New York was amended to
require an owner of a multiple dwelling to paint occupied
dwelling units every three years and more often when required by
contract or other provision of law. However, if the building's
owner never supplied this service, the Rent and Eviction
Regulations do not require the owner to do so now and no rent
reduction will be ordered for denial of such service.

Where painting has not been an essential service for a rent
controlled apartment and the landlord paints for the first time
in order to comply with the requirements of the Housing
Maintenance Code, the painting is considered to be an increase in
services under the provisions of Section 2202.4 (a) of the Rent
and Eviction Regulations. Upon completion of the painting. the
owner may file an "Owner's Application for a Rent Increase Based
on Increase Service(s) [DHCR form RA-79B] with the Division of
Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) . The owner must provide
evidence going back 10 years to establish that painting was not
previously an essential service. Tenant consent is not necessary
for such an increase because the owner is legally obligated to
paint pursuant to the Housing Maintenance Code. The increase for
painting is limited to 10% of the apartment's monthly rent on the
effective date of the Order. Upon DHCR's issuance of a rent
increase order, the owner will then be obligated to paint the
apartment every three years.

Once painting is established as an essential service, if the
owner does not paint once every three years, (or more frequently,
if that was the prior practice),

the tenant may file an Application for Rent Reduction Based Upon
Decreased Service(s) Individual Apartment [DHCR form RA-81].
Pursuant to the provisions of Section 2202.16 of the Rent and
Eviction Regulations, a rent reduction will be ordered upon a
finding that the owner has not properly painted.

The painting service which the owner is obligated to provide is
based on prior practice. If in the past the owner supplied the
paint and the tenant arranged for the painting, or the owner
painted one or two rooms at a time, continuation of these
practices satisfy the painting requirement. Past practice of the
owner also dictates the color scheme. However, if an owner is
painting for the first time, the owner is only required to paint
the apartment in a neutral shade. To be eligible for the 10%
increase in rent, the owner must not only provide the paint but
also arrange for and pay for the painters. Ail painting must be
done in a workmanlike manner. Depending on past practice, the
painting and decorating service may include providing of shades,
blinds, wallpaper, trim, etc., in addition to plastering and
painting.

If the tenant files a complaint with DHCR for failure to paint
and in response the owner states that painting was never provided
and there is no earlier record with DHCR on painting, it is the
responsibility of the owner to establish proof of the painting
practice for the past 10 years. If DHCR finds that the owner has
failed to maintain the painting service as required, the tenant's
rent will be reduced by 10%. and the rent reduction will remain
in effect until the owner provides the required painting service
in a workmanlike manner. The owner can then apply to DHCR, using
Owner's Application to Restore Rent and/or Collect Rent
Adjustment [DHCR form RTP-19] for a rent restoration.

Before filing any complaint with DHCR, the tenant should contact
the owner in an attempt to resolve the issue.

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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
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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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