Section 10.10 Decrease in Services

(Amended March 7, 1989; Subsection (e) adopted February 7, 1995; amended April 25, 1995; effective February 1, 1995; amended August 20, 1996)

(a) A tenant may petition for a reduction of base rent where a landlord, without a corresponding reduction in rent, has (1) substantially decreased housing services, including any service added after commencement of the tenancy and for which additional consideration was paid when it was provided, or (2) failed to provide housing services reasonably expected under the circumstances, or (3) failed to provide a housing service verifiably promised by the landlord prior to commencement of the tenancy.

(b) A petition for arbitration based on decreased services shall be filed on a form supplied by the Board. The petition shall be accompanied by a statement setting forth the nature and value of the service for which the decrease is being sought, and the date the decrease began and ended, if applicable.

(c) No rent decrease as requested in the tenant's petition will be allowed prior to one year preceding the filing of the petition except where one or more of the following is found:

(1) extraordinary circumstances;

(2) where the tenant establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been long term notice, oral or written, from the tenant or other reliable source, regarding such decrease occurring in the interior of the tenant's unit, or where such condition existed in the interior of the unit at the commencement of the tenancy and the landlord had constructive notice of same; or

(3) where the tenant establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that there has been actual long term notice, oral or written, from the tenant or other reliable source, and/or constructive notice regarding such decrease occurring in any common area.

(d) For the purposes of this section, notice is defined as follows:

(1) Actual Notice: Actual notice occurs when the tenant or any reliable person or entity informs the landlord, or the landlord's agents, orally or in writing, of a decrease in housing services as defined in the Rent Ordinance at Section 37.2(g).

(2) Constructive Notice: Constructive notice occurs when a decrease in housing services exists and the landlord should have known about the condition. (For example, constructive notice may be found when a reasonable inspection would have revealed the condition in the common area at any time or in the unit prior to the commencement of the tenancy.)

(e) With respect to Newly Covered Units, the earliest permissible effective date for any rent decrease allowed under this Section 10.10 shall be December 22, 1994; provided, however, that the initial base rent, as defined by Section 37.12(a) of the Rent Ordinance shall include all housing services provided or reasonably expected on May 1, 1994, or as of the commencement of the tenancy, whichever is later.

(f) Except where a failure to repair and maintain results in a substantial decrease in housing services, any relief granted by the Board under this section shall preclude relief under Section 10.11 below. This provision shall not limit any civil remedies that would otherwise be available to a tenant or landlord.