George E. Pataki, Governor                     Joseph H. Holland, Commissioner

                     A publication of New York State
                Division of Housing and Community Renewal
                      Office of Rent Administration

          Fact Sheet #28 - Painting Rent Controlled Apartments
                             [Revised 1/96]

     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 Air Conditioner Charges or for an
Increase in Maximum Rent for Painting" (DHCR Form RN-79b, Part B) 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 Rent Regulation Reform Act of 1993 changes the amount an owner may
collect for an increase in painting service. The previous increase of 10% of
the rent has been changed to 1/40th of the cost incurred to paint the
apartment. This increase of 1/40th is paid by the tenant monthly and becomes
part of the maximum rent. If the tenant consents to the rent increase, the
owner may use Part A of the RN-79b form.

     Once painting is established as an essential service and the owner does
not paint in a timely manner when requested to do so by the tenant, the tenant
may file with DHCR an "Application for Rent Reduction Based Upon Decreased
Service(s) Individual Apartment" (DHCR Form RA-81). Under 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 satisfies the painting requirement of the Rent
and Eviction Regulations.  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 rent increase, the owner must not only provide the paint but also arrange
for and pay for the painters. All painting must be done in a workmanlike
manner. Depending on past practice, the painting service may include provision
of shades, blinds, wallpaper, trim, etc., in addition to plastering and

     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 may 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.

     For more information or assistance, call the DHCR Rent InfoLine,
(718) 739-6400, or visit your Borough or County Rent Office.

92-31 Union Hall Street
4th Floor
Jamaica, NY 11433
(718) 739-6400

250 Schermerhorn Street
3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Upper Manhattan
163 W. 125th Street
5th Floor
New York, NY 10027
North side of 110th St. and above

Nassau County
50 Clinton Street
6th Floor
Hempstead, NY 11550

Westchester County
55 Church Street
White Plains, NY 10601

Lower Manhattan
156 William Street
9th Floor
New York, NY 10038
South side of 110th St. and below

1 Fordham Plaza
2nd Floor
Bronx, NY 10458

Staten Island
60 Bay Street
7th Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301

Rockland County
94-96 North Main Street
Spring Valley, NY 10977

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