Rent Reduction Proceeding Reopened Due to DHCR's Failure to Serve Co-op Unit Owner
LVT Number: #33019
Rent-stabilized tenant of a cooperative apartment complained to the DHCR in 2021 of a reduction in required services. Tenant claimed that landlord failed to maintain the services of an attendant at the rear building entrance and that the rear entry/exit door was kept locked. The DRA ruled for tenant and reduced her rent because landlord never answered the DRA's notice of the tenant's complaint, and following DHCR inspection showing that although the door had a properly operable locked alarm door, no attendant was posted at the rear entrance.
The owner of the co-op apartment appealed to the DHCR and pointed out that it wasn't served by the DRA with a copy of tenant's complaint. Landlord pointed out that the management company named as landlord in the DRA's order was neither the owner nor managing agent for the co-op unit. Landlord also explained that an attendant had been provided at the rear door by the building contractor while the contractor made improvements during 2020.
The DHCR ruled against landlord, finding that landlord failed to rebut tenant's claim that it failed to maintain the services of a rear door attendant. The DHCR ignored landlord's claims that it wasn't served with tenant's complaint and that the contractor had completed its work in 2020. Landlord then commenced an Article 78 court proceeding, and argued that the DHCR's decision was arbitrary and unreasonable.
The court ruled for landlord. The DHCR's record contained no proof that the landlord ever provided an attendant at the building's rear door. The court also found that the DHCR acted arbitrarily by ignoring landlord's claim that it wasn't served with tenant's complaint. There was no proof that landlord previously provided attendant service at the building's rear door. The DRA's order was revoked, and the court sent the case back to the DHCR for further fact-finding.
C72 LLC v. DHCR: Index No. 159492/2022, 2023 NY Slip Op 34316(U)(Sup. Ct. NY; 12/7/23; Bannon, J)