No MCI Increase for Fencing or Landscaping
LVT Number: #32271
The DHCR's Rent Administrator partially granted landlord's application for MCI rent hikes. The DRA granted increases for a new front door and vestibule door, front entrance masonry work, drainage system, and handicap ramp. But the DRA denied any increase for fencing and landscaping, granite flooring and finishing materials, aluminum framing materials, glass, canopy and "A" frame construction, vestibule wall tiles, and DOB fees. Landlord and tenants both appealed and lost.
Tenants argued that the front entrance and vestibule doors didn't benefit all tenants because landlord didn't provide keys to the doors for all tenants for free or for a reasonable price once the doors were installed. Tenants also argued that the cost of the handicap ramp should be covered by the landlord because such ramps were required under the NYC Human Rights Law. But tenants didn't raise these issues before the DRA, so the DHCR wouldn't consider them for the first time on appeal.
Landlord argued that the disallowed costs should've been granted because the items were needed to maintain habitability standards under the RSC, and that the work was structural in nature, not cosmetic. But landlord failed to show that the disallowed installations, standing alone, qualified as MCIs. And, under DHCR policy, fencing and landscaping are considered only general maintenance work to property and aren't MCIs. This work wasn't necessary and directly related to the qualifying MCIs, even if done at the same time.
Various Tenants of 148-88th Avenue/Kings Park 148 LLC: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket Nos. FO110004RT, FO110002RO (9/20/22)[3-pg. document]