Landlord Can Lower Ceiling in Tenant's Closet

LVT Number: #24503

Landlord asked the DHCR for permission to alter the dwelling space and change services to tenant's rent-controlled apartment. Landlord sought to reduce the height of one of the tenant's closets from nine feet to seven feet. The alteration would permit landlord to enhance fire security, make the roof more accessible for older residents, install solar panels on the roof, and better maintain the roof. The DRA ruled for landlord. To compensate tenant for the reduction in his closet space, the DRA reduced tenant's rent permanently by $10 per month. Tenant appealed and lost. Tenant argued that he was a senior citizen and that the proposed work would disturb his peaceful enjoyment of his apartment and contaminate the air with asbestos or lead paint. He also claimed that $10 per month wasn't sufficient compensation. But landlord stated that the proposed work would take less than one hour and would reduce the height of the closet by about 20 inches. Landlord had conducted an asbestos inspection and said it would clean the apartment after the work was done.  The overall project would enhance tenant safety and improve the building.