MCI Increase Granted for Window Installation in Landmark Building
LVT Number: #32712
Landlord applied for MCI rent hikes based on the installation of apartment windows for a landmark building. Tenants appealed and lost. They argued that the claimed costs were excessive, based on cost estimates the tenants' association obtained from their forensic accountant. They also questioned the window pricing since, although the windows were of various sizes, landlord was charged one price per window. And some windows weren't replaced, including the exit stair windows and the cellar window. One tenant also argued that the claimed window costs weren't "actual, reasonable, and verifiable," as required by HSTPA. Tenants also claimed that the work was done in a piecemeal fashion.
The DHCR pointed out that landlord was required by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to comply with standards and regulations concerning any modernization at the landmark building. Landlord spent $1,297,600 to replace 1,333 windows, and sufficiently proved the cost. The MCI costs here also were actual, reasonable, and verifiable. It was also longstanding DHCR policy that window replacement didn't have to include hallway or lot line windows. The DHCR also had adopted the position that, where certain other building windows had special characteristics that were clearly of a distinct and different nature, replacement of at least 80 percent of the total apartment windows as part of a unified plan and consecutively timed project completed within a reasonable time frame would comply with MCI requirements. Waiver of the DHCR's Reasonable Cost Schedule also was permitted by the Rent Stabilization Code for landmark buildings. And the work wasn't done in a piecemeal fashion since it had been steadily ongoing throughout the installation period from start to finish.
585 WEA Tenants Association/Rosenfeld: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. JT430010RT (7/11/23)[7-pg. document]