New York State
Division of Housing and Community Renewal
Office of Rent Administration
Gertz Plaza, 92-31 Union Hall St.
Jamaica, New York 11433
Public Information: (718)739-6400
POLICY STATEMENT 89-1
FAILURE TO MAINTAIN SERVICES;
This policy statement is being issued to clarify DHCR's policies
with respect to maintenance of services, for rent stabilized
buildings or accommodations in New York City.
Section 26-514 of the Rent Stabilization Law, as amended by
Chapter 403, Laws of 1983 (Omnibus Housing Act) provides, in
pertinent part, as follows:
In addition to any other remedy afforded by law, any tenant may
apply to the state division of housing and community renewal, for
a reduction in the rent to the level in effect prior to its most
recent adjustment and for an order requiring services to be
maintained as provided in this section, and the Commissioner
shall so reduce the rent if it is found that the owner has failed
to maintain such services...
A substantially similar provision is contained in Section 2523.4
of the Rent Stabilization Code and it applies to all rent
stabilized units including stabilized hotels.
Essentially, a "required service" is one that was furnished on
the base date or one required to be furnished by any state law or
local law, ordinance or regulation applicable to the premises.
These required services may include but are not limited to,
repairs, decorating and maintenance, the furnishing of light,
heat, hot and cold water, elevator services, janitorial services,
and the removal of refuse. In addition to these required
services, hotel stabilized tenants are entitled to receive maid
service, linen service, furniture and furnishings, and staffed
lobby, as part of their required services.
Where a tenant files a complaint alleging the owner's failure to
maintain services and where the owner disputes the allegation, an
inspection of the premises is conducted to determine whether the
owner has failed to maintain services.
Where an inspector finds that required services nave not been
maintained or are absent, DHCR will issue an order listing the
specific services the owner failed to maintain, reducing the rent
and directing the owner to restore the services. In addition,
the owner will be ineligible for any rent increases for the
affected unit or units until the date specified in a rent
restoration order. The order will also include those items
listed in the original complaint which were not found to exist by
However, if prior to an inspection the owner has restored the
service(s) alleged in the tenant's complaint, there is generally
no rent reduction ordered. Additionally, the rent will not be
reduced upon a tenant complaint, or should be restored upon an
owner's application, where there is a finding that a tenant
failed to provide reasonable access.
Whenever a DHCR inspector finds a diminution of service, the rent
shall be reduced in accordance with the Code and law mentioned
above. However there are limited instances where an item listed
in a tenant's complaint is found to exist, but is only a
deficiency that does not equal a reduction in services. Thus, a
rent reduction would not be ordered if the alleged failure to
maintain services involves a minor condition that either occurs
normally despite on-going maintenance or recurs from time to time
and is normally addressed as part of periodic maintenance.
Examples of such conditions are as follows:
1. A burned-out or missing light bulb in a public hallway,
where there are other light bulbs and the illumination has not
dropped to a hazardous level.
2. A small crack in the wall occurring after a paint job.
3. A small paint chip in an enamel appliance.
Such situations, standing alone, would not normally warrant a
finding of a failure to maintain services. However, an Order may
be issued giving the owner thirty days to remedy the condition.
Such condition while initially not a failure to maintain services
may later escalate into a failure to maintain services. That is,
it becomes hazardous or the owner has failed to make the
necessary repairs within a reasonable period of time after the
DHCR Order. If the repair is not made within thirty days, the
tenant may request a follow-up inspection. If the condition has
not been corrected, the rent will be reduced retroactive to the
first of the month following the date of service on the owner of
the tenant's original complaint.
If the original condition is not corrected, an appropriate remedy
including a rent reduction may be ordered, either on a subsequent
complaint, or as part of a compliance proceeding following the
issuance of the Rent Administrator's Order. In such a situation
the retroactive date for the reduction in rent, if ordered, would
be the first of the month following the date of service on the
owner of the tenant's original complaint.
Sections 2523.3 & 4 of the Rent Stabilization Code essentially
provide that where DHCR determines that an owner has failed to
maintain services, such owner shall not be entitled to a rent
restoration until he or she has made an application and DHCR
issues an Order restoring the rent.
As rents are reduced when there is a failure to maintain required
services, likewise, DHCR will issue Orders to restore those rents
after required services as specified in the Rent Reduction Order
have been restored. The rent restoration proceeding is initiated
when an owner files an application affirming that the required
services have been restored. If the tenant consents to the
owner's statement, then the rent is restored. Otherwise, an
inspection is made to determine if the required services have
If the Order enumerated a number of conditions that required
correction, such as faulty wiring, a leak, plaster and paint, all
enumerated conditions must be corrected before the rent is
restored. When the condition has not been corrected in a
workmanlike manner, such as breaking a wall to repair a pipe
without fully restoring the wall, including plastering and
painting, the rent shall not be restored until all such work has
been completed. Rents may be restored if the only remaining
condition would not, on its own, constitute a diminution of
services as defined in the "Rent Reduction" section of this memo
Where DHCR issues an Order restoring rent the retroactive date
would be the first of the month following the date of service on
the tenant of the owner's application to restore rent.
Elliot G. Sander
February 27, 1989
DHCR Policy Statements are **promulgated** (i.e., officially
issued) by the New York State Division of Housing and Community
Renewal (DHCR) and represent **official** policy of the agency.
The agency is generally obligated to follow the policy contained
in these and other documents or provide a rational for deviation;
failure to follow the law, policy or practice may form the basis
for an appeal. Electronic versions of the 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 is advised to obtain true copies of
these documents from DHCR. Also see DHCR Advisory Opinions,
DHCR Operational Bulletins, the Rent Stabilization Code, the Rent
Stabilization Law and various Rent Control Statutes.
Every attempt has been made to conform to the original Policy
Statements 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
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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
One Fordham Plaza
Bronx, NY 10458
250 Schermerhorn St.
Brooklyn, NY 11201
156 William Street
NY, NY 10038
(212) 240-6011, 6012
South side of 110th St. and below
163 W. 125th St.
NY, NY 10027
North side of 110th St. and above
350 St. Mark's Place
Staten island, NY 10301
Nassau County District Rent Office
50 Clinton Street, 6th Floor
Hempstead, NY 11550
Westchester County District Rent Office
55 Church Street, 3rd Floor
White Plains, NY 10601
Rockland County District Rent Office
94-96 North Main St.
Spring Valley, NY 10977
Albany Regional Office
119 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12210
Buffalo Regional Office
Ellicot Square Building
295 Main St., Room 438
Buffalo, NY 14203