Stucco Stonework Qualified as Part of Approved MCI for Pointing

LVT Number: #32387

Landlord applied to the DHCR for MCI rent hikes based on pointing and related architect fees. The DRA ruled for landlord. Tenants appealed and lost. Tenants claimed that stucco stonework performed at the building, which cost close to $225,000, was cosmetic and not related to the building's pointing and waterproofing.

Landlord applied to the DHCR for MCI rent hikes based on pointing and related architect fees. The DRA ruled for landlord. Tenants appealed and lost. Tenants claimed that stucco stonework performed at the building, which cost close to $225,000, was cosmetic and not related to the building's pointing and waterproofing. Tenants also claimed that the DRA should have disallowed over $103,000 in undocumented, unexplained miscellaneous charges related to the MCI, that asbestos abatement costing close to $20,000 wasn't properly documented, and that Local Law 11 costs shouldn't have been included in the approved MCI costs. 

The DHCR noted the agency's policy that, to constitute an MCI, resurfacing of stucco must be 100 percent, but if the building is part stucco and part brick, then the brick portion of the building must be pointed. In this case, 100 percent of the building's stucco stonework, located at the front facade of the lower, center portion of the building, was removed and replaced with new stonework, in addition to the pointing of the brick portions of the buildings. As provided in the Rent Stabilization Code and rent control regulations, stucco stonework qualifies for an MCI rent increase as necessary work performed in connection with, and directly related to, the qualifying MCI.

In addition, the miscellaneous charges documented by landlord were "other necessary work" directly related to the MCI. Landlord explained these items, which included masonry probes, reinforcing steel columns and beams and the installation of vents at the laundry room, brick replacement for lintel, steel lintel replacement, windowsill replacement, molds, coping stones, other brick pointing and replacement, and a new spandrel. Landlord submitted an Asbestos Control Project (ACP) form as proof of the asbestos removal. And the fact that the Local Law 11 work was done to comply with NYC law didn't prevent its inclusion in the MCI costs. Finally, the complexity of the overall project warranted the need for the architect's expertise and therefore qualified as part of the total MCI cost.

118 West 79th Street Tenants Association: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. ER430068RT (12/1/22)[3-pg. document]