Landlord installed individual heaters without DHCR permission.

Position::HEAT & HOT WATER

Rent-stabilized tenant complained of a reduction in services based on landlord's unilateral transfer to tenant of the costs for heat and hot water. The DRA ruled for tenant and reduced his rent. The DRA also authorized tenant's deduction of the cost of gas and electricity from his monthly rent.

Landlord appealed and lost. Landlord claimed that there was no failure to maintain heat and hot water and that tenant's payment for these services was a de minimis, or minor, condition not warranting a rent reduction. Landlord also argued that the DHCR was authorized only to reduce tenant's rent by a guidelines rent but couldn't authorize deduction of the utility cost from tenant's rent. But the reduction in required services wasn't de minimis. In 2005, before tenant moved into the apartment, landlord...

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