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Modification of Services (RS)

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Modification of Services (RS)

Postby suzannenyc » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:36 pm

I received an owner's application for modification of services, related to my ac/heating. The landlord is replacing the boiler system and each apartment will now have individual control over heating and cooling. Seems like this means I'll be paying for heat instead of them. The new units will also take up more space than the current radiators.

If I consent (don't object) to the owner's application, can I still file for reduction of services once the change takes place (in order to lower my rent to compensate for additional heating costs)? Or should I object now.
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Re: Modification of Services (RS)

Postby TenantNet » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:33 pm

Is this an application from DHCR? What is the form number (bottom left corner, small print)?

Are they putting heating systems in each unit? If so, that might be illegal unless they have a waiver from the city. Look at section 27-2028 of the NYC Housing Maintenance Code. See page 29 of this document: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/buildings/p ... ceCode.pdf

§27–2028 Central heat or electric or gas heating system; when required. Except as
otherwise provided in this article, every multiple dwelling and every tenant-occupied one or two family dwelling shall be provided with heat from a central heating system constructed in
accordance with the provisions of the building code and the regulations of the department. A
system of gas or electric heating provided for each dwelling unit may, if approved by the
department, be utilized in lieu of a central heating system if:

(1) the system is lawfully in use on July fourteenth, nineteen hundred sixty-seven; or

(2) the system is approved by the appropriate city agencies having jurisdiction and is installed in
a structure or building erected, converted, substantially rehabilitated, or completely vacated,
after July fourteenth, nineteen hundred sixty-seven.


Also Section 27-2032 of the same document.

I've never had to deal with this personally, but my reading of this is that central heating must be provided by the owner, unless waived by the city.

You may need to dig into this with HPD to see how they enforce it, or not.

Having said all that, I hear reports from around the city of this stuff happening. How DHCR would treat this As and Owner Decrease (OD) application is unknown.

See https://www.nydailynews.com/news/politi ... -1.2473499

And http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/2015122 ... heat-cuomo

Of course with DHCR they often do a little to get good press, then go back to their horrible ways.

Technology changes. Heat pumps have been around a while, but apparently getting more popular. I remember reading that they serve as providing hot and cold air.

I would object now instead of waiting. If the new units are appreciably larger than before (what did you have before?), raise that as an issue.

And raise the issue that most of these are electric, and therefore cost more than any previous system. Chances are

Also, did the building have rent increases at any time in the past for installation of new boilers or heating systems?

If your building has a tenant group, work with them.
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Re: Modification of Services (RS)

Postby suzannenyc » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:38 pm

Thank you for the info! The forms I received are RN-35 (4/14) (the form to sign) and RAMS-93 (9/13), which also included a list of all apartments in the building and rent status. Of 118 apartments in the building, 16 are rent stabilized.

The units they are installing provide both heat and a/c and they'll be taking out the current old clanky radiators.

From the application:
Describe in detail the existing services you propose modifying: The building currently has a steam boiler, built circa 1980, which provides heat to the units. The boiler is old and in need of replacement.
Describe in detail the proposed modification: Landlord wishes to update the current boiler and mechanical systems so that they can run more efficiently and comply with the Building's sustainability requirements.
Specifically, Landlord would like to install a vertical heat pump and Variable Refrigerant Volume System, which would provide heating and cooling in each individual unit. There will be an internal fan in each unit that will be powered through the unit's electrical panel. Each individual tenant will be able to control the temperature in their unit (heating and cooling) via an individual environmental control panel. (copies of the vertical heat pump installation manual and photographs were also attached; also noted that the new unit will take up 4-5 sq. ft each, vs. 2 sq. ft for the current radiator).

Unfortunately, no tenant group. And, due to all of the work going on in the building, they've relocated everyone to other floors/apts, so not even sure where the stabilized tenants are now.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Modification of Services (RS)

Postby TenantNet » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:33 pm

I'm not familiar with form RN-35. I don't see it listed here:
https://hcr.ny.gov/tenant-owner-forms

Can you scan it and send us a PDF using Private Mail?

The RAMS-93 is show here:
https://hcr.ny.gov/system/files/documen ... rvices.pdf

Yes, it sounds like a heat pump that can do both heat and AC. Radiators (in my opinion) might be old and clunky, but the add some charm and if maintained, work well.

If the boiler is old, then the owner should install a new one (sorry, but this will get you a MCI). Does he provide and proof of the age of the old/current boiler?

Now, the current boiler runs on oil or natural gas that the LL provides (yes, it's in your rent). But the new devices will likely run on electricity that you would pay for. If granted the DHCR might order a one-time rent decrease to compensate you for loss of LL-provided HHW.

Does the application say anything about how they will provide hot water? That probably now uses gas. And of course you likely pay for cooking gas to run your stove/oven.

You should probably form a tenant group to give this a closer look. I would also check with HPD on the legality of this, and see what you can do to stop it.

You should probably respond to the DHCR notice as soon as possible.
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