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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!

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is just a ploy by TS to legally cover their ass in the event there is a catastrophic fire involving illegal pressure walls. They can then say "Well, we were lied to by the tenants." If they were really sincere about complying with DOB and FDNY laws, they would inspect every apartment, especially the ones they have rented out to students and MR tenants. They won't do that though because they're too cheap and lazy.

Anonymous said...

It would be useful to know what constitutes a legal wall and what constitutes an illegal wall. Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

I don't know about anyone else, but my roommates and I were told that we could use bookcase walls from bookcasewalls.com and divide up the apartment however we like because the bookcase walls would be considered "furniture" and not a wall. We had our leasing agent meet with the contractor and myself to let us into the apt to get an estimate. The owner of bookcase walls and our leasing agent not only knew each other, but the owner also said he has dont tons of walls for residents in Stuy Town.

Now, we just found out we failed the wall inspection. Stuy Town's agent was well aware of what we were putting up; we even did it due to HIS recommendation. We spent over 3,000 on the walls and now we are being forced out. If anyone has a similar story please write in.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

If you are being thrown out because of this, that's outrageous. You should call councilman Dan Garodnick--and also the Tenants Association. Tishman Speyer said they would work with those who have illegal "walls"....

Anonymous said...

We had the option of having the walls removed at Stuy Town's expense (but that would mean my roommates would be sharing a bedroom!) I don't think its fair that the leasing agent told us how to divide the apartment, and now they are calling it illegal. Isn't Stuy Town admitting fault by offering to pay for the renovation?
They should have offered to move us into a two bedroom converted at the same price.

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mjurow said...

I have a legal wall that I would like to remove and the leasing agent said no. I paid to install it in 2009. Can they prevent me from removing it?

Solid pressurized walls said...

Pressurized walls are awesome! Get at least 4 per apartment!

Anonymous said...

"Of interest is this: Can Tishman Speyer eventually enter every apartment to verify the presence or lack of pressurized walls?" Yup! They just came today.

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