Landlord Cost for Gas Re-Piping MCI Was Lower Than DHCR's Reasonable Cost Limit

LVT Number: #32383

The DHCR's Rent Administrator granted landlord's application for MCI rent hikes based on building-wide gas re-piping. Tenants appealed and lost. Tenants claimed that the cost for the work claimed by landlord was excessive and that their electricity bills increased substantially after the gas re-piping was installed. They also said that their gas service was interrupted for six months during the gas re-piping installation, and that other building-wide services weren't being maintained.

The DHCR's Rent Administrator granted landlord's application for MCI rent hikes based on building-wide gas re-piping. Tenants appealed and lost. Tenants claimed that the cost for the work claimed by landlord was excessive and that their electricity bills increased substantially after the gas re-piping was installed. They also said that their gas service was interrupted for six months during the gas re-piping installation, and that other building-wide services weren't being maintained. Landlord pointed out that the cost of its MCI installation was lower than the DHCR's Reasonable Cost Schedule listing for gas re-piping, and that some of the service issues tenants complained about were unrelated to the gas re-piping. The DHCR noted that the installation of gas line re-piping qualified as an MCI and landlord correctly complied with DHCR requirements for the rent increase. And the Rent Stabilization Code provides no rent payment exemption based on affordability. Also, under established DHCR policy, the interruption of gas service while the new re-piping was being installed didn't present grounds to the deny the MCI increase as it didn't involve defects in the MCI. Should interruptions occur in the future, or in connection with other claimed defects in building services, tenants may filed rent reduction applications with the DHCR based on decreased services. Finally, the DHCR couldn't consider tenants' claim regarding increased electricity costs since this wasn't raised before the DRA.

Various Tenants of 370 Fort Washington Avenue: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. JQ430020RT (12/1/22)[2-pg. document]