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Sunday, August 16, 2009
Pressurized Walls - Again
To mail or not to mail, that is the question.
By now or Monday, Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village tenants should have in their post office boxes, a "Temporary Wall Survey" from Tishman Speyer. As the enclosed letter states, "In order to get an accurate inventory, we must identify those apartments in which temporary walls have been installed and then inspect those apartments to determine if the temporary walls are Code-compliant." The company requests that tenants fill out the single one-sided page form that will identify whether their apartment has a temporary wall and, if so, where it is placed. The letter concludes with a paragraph thanking tenants for their "anticipated cooperation." A postage paid envelope is included.
Concern over pressurized walls came to a fore when the complex's Tenant Association informed the city that Tishman Speyer was not in compliance with city regulations via pressurized walls. This resulted in New York City's Department of Buildings and FDNY demanding that the illegal walls be removed, which also put a stop to the installation of new walls until their design and placement would be cleared by the DOB, which eventually, after a long wait by tenants who use these walls, happened.
So why the survey now? It may be a final requirement from the DOB or a preemptive move by Tishman Speyer just in case trouble over pressurized walls begins again, as a signed form appears to take the legal burden off of TS by placing it onto the tenant. There have been a slew of new tenants coming in of late (chiefly college kids) and probably just as many new installations of pressurized walls, a good number of which TS may not be aware of. Legally, TS may have no other option than to have a list of apartments that contain pressurized walls and make sure those are code-compliant.
Certainly, if we look at the situation from the point of view of what is right (safety concerns) everyone should fill out the form truthfully. After all, this was the motive behind the involvement of the Tenants Association in this matter. The only people who may regret filling out the form are those tenants who have illegal walls (or who may think they have illegal walls) and tenants who have placed such walls to accommodate more roommates than are listed on their lease. If their walls do not comply with building codes, the tenants themselves will have to pay for their removal and the installation of new, code-compliant walls. If an apartment contains a half-dozen roommates not on the lease, well, that's another critical issue.
Of interest is this: Can Tishman Speyer eventually enter every apartment to verify the presence or lack of pressurized walls?
To be continued, no doubt!