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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The STR Plan for Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village



When it came out that the Tenants Association has been brewing a tenant co-op/condo plan for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village with Brookfield Asset Management, several real estate big sharks began circling again around this complex, offering up their own plans or willingness to get into the mix. Well, in the spirit of "if they can do it, why can't I?", this is my plan for Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village:

1) Senior lenders are "owed" 3.5 billion dollars. Says who? And if so, who is to pay? Let's get this straight: Institutions took a financial risk in investing in the biggest real estate deal of the century, the investment tanked and now residents of this complex are to be burdened with a debt of 3.5 billion? Sorry, your mistake for trying to make a killing here, so you LOSE and won't be able to get anything for your loss except perhaps a tax break. Take it up with Tishman Speyer if you have a problem. Sue them if you like for 3.5 billion. But in no way should residents of this community be burdened with paying off the senior lenders in high rents, packed-in apartments for students, gimmicky non-zoned commercial activities, a reduction of services, benign neglect, or some future "deal" to be made with CWCapital. Once residents are free of this burden, even by implication, then our financial future in this complex becomes clearer and more breathable.

2) The city has to take over the running of the complex, at least financially, and establish a partnership with the Tenants Association. Before the Met Life sale, Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village used to turn over a modest profit and the complex can still do so. For their pains, the city would gain something for their coffers. (Let's see the politicos of NYC, the people who so eagerly appear at tenant rallies and meetings, vote against the idea of the city making sure ST/PCV is truly run for the ideals of "the middle class" and "affordability" by letting the city become the complex's owner.) The TA would be charged with selecting someone to manage the actual day to day workings of complex, and that entity would be responsible to the TA, and by extension, to the tenants, for the quality of the work they do, which includes the quality of the security force.

3) Full and genuine rent stabilization in this complex has to be a right and tenants have to focus on working toward strengthening tenant protections across the board in New York. No more of this "realistic" bs (convenient as a scare tactic to get tenants to give up current rent-stabilized apartments) that tenant protections are going to disappear, so we may as well go for the best deal we can, which includes voluntarily accepting rent-stabilized units turning into market rate apartments. Tenant protections laws, to include permanent rent stabilization, have to be the primary goals of every rent stabilized tenant living in the city and every tenant association that represents them.

4) All apartments in ST/PCV are apparently rent stabilized, but at the same time we have market rate prices on many apartments. How in the hell did that happen? There has to be a complete revaluation of high-priced apartments with pricing that reflects the general pricing of apartments that have not turned "market rate." The only allowance would be a modest addition fee of living in a refurbished apartment. Even an extra $300-500 per month charge would be a savings for tenants paying market rate prices, as their monthly rental bill would be cut in half from its current high. If the rents here were truly in the rent stabilized category, there'd be a complete occupancy of rental units here, with a waiting list to get in, and a decent selection process of prospective tenants, just like in the "good old days."

5) No more transient tenants from schools. Transient tenants create garbage, pressurized wall mazes, and destabilize the community, creating a class of people who do not care about the past, present or future of ST/PCV. Bye-bye NYU, New School, etc. We want families and working people here, whose intentions are to stay for a good number of years and preferably for a much, much longer time, setting up roots in this place as many of us have done. Such tenants, replacing the transients, will create a vigorous new body that will become active in tenant affairs and fully support rent stabilization because this is their home and not a dorm or a hotel. These are people we want here, the solid middle class who will fight for the middle class and not take bull from anyone--politicos and monied real estate/asset management companies combined.

Any other plan that deviates in large part from the above, to include co-op and condo conversions, spells the end to the true middle class here and affordability and paves the way for the complete transition of Manhattan into a Bloombergesque vision of highrises fronted by chain drug stores and banks--a Manhattan inhabited by the wealthy and/or their student sons and daughters--and the eradication of the charm, gusto and fighting spirit of what still is the greatest city in the world.

99 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dream on, STR. Dream on.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your thoughts. I'm not very optimistic that the bond holders will give up anything outside their legal rights. While your plan is great in an ideal world, we all know how our Mayor Bloomturd feels about the middle class, the sale of Stuyvesant Town and the future of NY, and how the Republican State Legislature feels about the real estate money in their pockets and downstate tenants. Maybe if the negotitions drag out for a couple of years..... who knows ?

Anonymous said...

STR,

I'm with you 99%! We part company at having the TA run the place--at least not as it is currently constituted.

And you can add to your list of schools the SVA. Saw a bunch of them unloading their crap last night.

I'm not going for this deal but I might sign on for yours.

Anonymous said...

Sorry STR. I have only one question to ask you. In your world, what color is the sky?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

We can't change the sky, but we can have a say in determining what roof we'll have over our heads...and what that roof will cost.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not very optimistic that the bond holders will give up anything outside their legal rights."

They have the legal right to recover whatever they can get. That's it. We don't have to pay them face for their note. Nobody does. It's up to them what they will accept to unload this albatross.

One thing is for sure, the longer they have to run this place and the more cash they bleed, the more willing they will be to take a reasonable offer.

Anonymous said...

STR, you have come up with the only plan that I, as a rent stabilized tenant, would sign on for. I am paying close to $1,400 per month and cannot afford much more. Tishman Speyer decimated this property and incurred the huge debt that has left the bondholders up the creek. I have no sympathy for them They made a bad investment and should swallow it. Go after the stinking avaricious jackals that "bought" the property at such a ridiculous price and roped in enough fools so that they could walk away from it. Tishman Speyer and Blackrock owe the money to the bondholders, not we tenants. No way in this world am I going to go along with the TA, Brookfield or Guterman, but I would go along with your proposal.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you can have a say in determing what roof is over your head and how mmuch it costs, but only if you own it. And if you think things are screwed up now, you can't imagine how bad it will be if NYC is in the mix.

Anonymous said...

STR...I commend your stab at a plan, but it is fundamentally flawed from your first point contending that the senior lenders are not "owed" $3.5 billion dollars.

The lenders made a loan to Tishman and have a contractual and legal right to get something in return when Tishman defaulted - possession of the property and buildings (collateral). Plain and simple. It's what all banks do with loans made to individuals who purchase homes or apartments. If you default on your mortgage, the lender gets to take your property and sell it so that they can recoup the money they've loaned to you.

This has been the fundamental pillar of home/buildings loans for centuries.

I am a tenant here and I despise what Tishman did and what has/will become of our community. However, a contract is a contract and laws are laws and they must be honored if legal. Morality is another issue.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your plan. A lot better than the one we have before us. At the TA meeting, Dan G. said that we would probably be receiving in the mail an offer from Guterman. He should we should ignore their offer, as they will promise us anything. I'm sure they are just as bad as anyone else, but has anyone received such a letter and why did Dan G. need to warn us against them?

Anonymous said...

STR, Your plan needs to be tweeked a bit, but not bad at all. Have to re-read it a few more times before I add my two cents.
I don't think there is any rush, any plan will be tied up in litigation for years. The legal fees alone will bankrupt the TA, and they won't see so much as a penny from me!

Anonymous said...

As someone who spent 3 years living ST, with a roommate and a pressurized wall while paying about 40% of my after tax income for the privilege of doing so I have very little sympathy for rent stabilized "middle class" tenants.

"Affordability" is a great excuse for keeping the rent of the lucky few low and therefore inflating the rent of everyone else who would like to live in the area.

Rent stabilization has little to do with the middle class. If you are middle class then you can afford to live elsewhere, you don't need to be subsidized. There is no "right" to afford a Manhattan apartment. If you are working poor and need a subsidy just to get by that's different.

Its not fair that some legacy tenants receive a windfall at the expense of others, especially those who can barely afford to move into the neighborhood but are willing to make other sacrifices to do so.

Anonymous said...

All of Lux's sites are down. Facebook account seems to be removed.

Martin Richard said...

Let's analyze your proposal:

1) I'm not sure what this rant is about, but I'm guessing you want to force the lenders to sell the property for less than value of the mortgage. This sort of thing happens, of course, but even detestable people have a right to retain their property. How exactly are you going to force them to sign away their legal right to own this place? It isn't like they can just donate it -- they have a responsibility to the people who gave them that money (which includes plenty of normal people's pension funds and the like).

2) Wait, you want to turn our community into city housing? Seriously, have you seen what the NYCHA projects look like? No, really: put down your laptop, and go check it out. If you're excited by things, like working elevators, maintenance requests closed in the same quarter as they're opened, and any sense of security, you might want to reconsider that route. I think we'd long for the days of Rose after a year of that (and talk about unaccountable!) "This time is different" isn't a place most of us can live.

3) I'm not sure what you want here. Do you want a special rent stabilization law for PCVST? The law is the law, and if we want a different law, that's a NYS political process thing. TS might be some greedy bastards, but the whole RS system isn't something they invented, it's the system. If we want something different, it isn't something we can get via a contract, a deal with NYC, or anything like that: it takes an act of the New York State legislature to change that (and, it's going to be opposed by every landlord in the state, because most believe that there's no legitimate reason that people somehow have an entitlement to a sub-market rate home in Manhattan).

4) So we're going to cut all the rents back to Metlife levels? This will do a great job of ensuring that whomever runs the place can't afford to maintain it, which will make the degradation mentioned in #2 a forgone conclusion. This one is probably legal, since RS laws set a MAXIMUM rent but you can always charge less. But, this doesn't address the thorny question of who gets units. If you DO suddenly have a waiting list for apartments, how do you give them out? If we're really becoming city housing, we have to make it income sensitive and let the most needy people in first. We also are obligated to kick out those who aren't needy. This is actually an interesting problem: if our goal is to make this "affordable" middle class housing, do we evict everyone making more than, say, 60k to make room for people who "need" a home? That would help to ensure we're benefiting the middle class with affordable housing... although I'm sure that would cause some screaming.

5) Are you suggesting that the community should start violating the Fair Housing Act of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975? Or just ban pressurized walls? Suffice to say, I think imposing rules on things like carpeting and walls are a great idea... but attempting to evict or not lease to people just because they're young or students is illegal. Granted, that seems to be no barrier to you in some of these things, but if we're going to be city-run, we probably need to uphold federal housing laws. Let's just say that we'll ban those subdivisions, enforce maximum resident rules, and hope that makes us a bit too expensive for the students. Of course, we can stop selling blocks to NYU too, and force the tenants to apply individually, so we can do the full wait list process.

Wow, that was fun. I can see you care a lot about this community. But, I think your plan would make things a whole lot worse here. Thankfully, the barriers to that happening are pretty high, and involve the government of New York likely forcible repossessing the complex from its owners to make it into public housing. Until they default on their taxes, that ain't happening.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

"All of Lux's sites are down. Facebook account seems to be removed."

I just sent an e-mail to Lux to find out what's happening.

Anonymous said...

"Rent stabilization has little to do with the middle class. If you are middle class then you can afford to live elsewhere, you don't need to be subsidized. There is no "right" to afford a Manhattan apartment. If you are working poor and need a subsidy just to get by that's different."

That is one of the more hateful comments I've ever heard in this forum. You do realize that not everybody that lives in this complex makes a six-figure salary at some tech startup, right? Imagine you're a cop, firefighter, teacher, or some other kind of civil servant. You have two, maybe even three kids. Your spouse has to stay home to take care of them, so the four of you have to live on a cop/teacher/firefighter's salary. The problem is that the middle class CAN'T afford to live ANYWHERE in this city without being subsidized via rent stabilization. If your salary is 50,000 dollars a year, and your rent is 4k a month, that leaves 2 thousand dollars for an entire year's worth of food, clothing, entertainment, etc. I find it pretty disgusting that you choose to attack those who cannot afford to pay market rate. I'm glad you don't live here anymore.

Anonymous said...

Its not fair that some legacy tenants receive a windfall at the expense of others, especially those who can barely afford to move into the neighborhood but are willing to make other sacrifices to do so.

Boo hoo! waaaah! Then go home to Mommy's basement. New York is a diverse city for people of all income levels. Always has been and always will be. Nobody asked you to live here and you're welcome to leave asap.

Anonymous said...

"Its not fair that some legacy tenants receive a windfall at the expense of others, especially those who can barely afford to move into the neighborhood but are willing to make other sacrifices to do so.."

oh and by the way..Nobody FORCED you to rent an apartment here.

Anonymous said...

Post @ 10:45 am: Why should we have to explain ourselves to these fucking assholes from the flyover states who come here and feel it is THEIR RIGHT to live in Manhattan and pout and resent the New Yorkers who are already living here and have affordable rents. THEY are the ones who can't afford to live in Manhattan and should go somewhere else. Our rents are not too low, their rents are too high because landlords take advantage of their petulent demand to live in The City. We owe these whining white breads NOTHING and never will. The people who made this city great didn't come here demanding to live in prime real estate for a low rent and resent those who were already here, probably born and raised here. This is the flyover state crowd of entitled narcists who are perpetually glued to their iPhones, iPads, iPods, iShits and think they are God's gift to the world! Immature jerks!

Anonymous said...

I hope Luxie hasn't been assassinated (technologically speaking, of course) by the Forces of Evil that surround us. If so, watch out STR!

Anonymous said...

Hey Numbnuts December 6, 2011 11:41 PM,

Some people who live here fought for YOUR right to not have to wear jackboots and pledge allegiance to Hitler Youth. Get a fucking clue you narcissistic twerp.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that the middle class CAN'T afford to live ANYWHERE in this city without being subsidized via rent stabilization."

That's such an ignorant attitude. There's plenty of affordable housing that people earning $50k a year can raise a family. It just isn't in Manhattan south of 96th street. It's on Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, Upper Manhattan, and the Bronx.

The sense of entitlement is staggering, that some people believe that somehow the world owes them an apartment in the most expensive place in the US, regardless of all other factors. Not everybody gets to be an astronaut when they grow up, and not everybody gets to live on 5th Avenue. That's okay, though, because there are plenty of great places to live.

Anonymous said...

What HAPPENED TO LUX?

Anonymous said...

There is no "right" to afford a Manhattan apartment.

However, there is this little pesky thing known as the law. Granted Tishman Speyer, CW Capital and Rose Associates routinely ignore the law and Dan Garodnick and the group formerly known as the Tenants Association look the other way and pretended not to notice. That is, until a group of tenants got so fed up they went around the TA and dopey Dan. Yet, it is still the law of the land and as such is enforceable despite dopey Dan and the incompetent TA.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Regarding Lux, everything is okay. No conspiracy theories. He just decided to move on. I thank him for his sites and Facebook, and who knows? Perhaps he will come back. He and his work will be very much missed.

Anonymous said...

@12:17 pm. The law is not enforced for the likes of TS, Rose, Dopey Dan, et al so long as Bloomturd is in his illegal third term that was bought and paid for, over and above the will of the electorate that overwhelmingly voted in favor of term limits. Let us never forget that Christine "Slush Fund" Quinn enabled this and she is part of the cabal pols who turned up to cheer on Dopey Dan and the group f/k/a The Tenants Association. When Bloomturd has gone and City Hall has been cleaned out and thoroughly sanitized, maybe we will have the rule of law again.

Anonymous said...

Lux didn't even say goodbye. Something must be up. I do hope he is alright. It's not like him to just dump everything without a world of warning.

Anonymous said...

Wow, he didn't say goodbye. ?????

Stuy Town Reporter said...

"The sense of entitlement is staggering, that some people believe that somehow the world owes them an apartment in the most expensive place in the US, regardless of all other factors."

No, the world doesn't owe people an apartment south of 96th Street, but if we are already here, it's another issue to try to kick us out of our homes. Conversely, the world doesn't owe the wealthy carte blanche south of 96th Street.

Anonymous said...

I do hope that Lux comes back. We need both the STR blog and Lux blog. Both are very, very valuable, informative and entertaining blogs. Please, if any of you see or hear from Lux, please ask him to come back. He went so suddenly too. I hope he is not sick or in trouble in any way. WE LOVE YOU LUX!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Rose had something to do with lux departure?

so abrupt! Watch your backs kiddos.

Anonymous said...

Calling people names, or telling them their opinion doesn't matter, or making fun of where they're from or what they do or don't do hardly unifies the community at a time when we actually need to be able to work together.

If all we want to do is rip at each other, we're going to be such suckers for whomever has money and a plan, because we won't be able to organize to do anything about it.

Incidentally, I think housing in New York City should be affordable to everyone. I'm not sure why I (who don't need a subsidy) deserve a RS deal that my son (who really could use one) doesn't get, except that I've been here since '77.

It's a travesty what's happening to our kid's generation, that they're being cheated out of their money just to put a roof over our heads. I'm ashamed that we're not doing more to give them (all of them, not just a select few) the breaks we got when we were coming up.

Anonymous said...

Instead of whining about Lux's not saying good bye, we should thank him for everything he's done for such a long time and wish him the best of everything. He deserves our gratitude, good wishes and support. We'll all miss him and his great work.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Rose had nothing to do with Luxie's departure.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the TA will reinstate their forum! Yeah right!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that Lux just dumped his many friends and fans without so much as goodbye and good luck. I am worried about him.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, I think housing in New York City should be affordable to everyone. I'm not sure why I (who don't need a subsidy) deserve a RS deal that my son (who really could use one) doesn't get, except that I've been here since '77.

Then move out and pass the apartment on to your son, if he's been on your lease, if not give it up for someone else's son. However, dont blame others because you're not willing to give up your good thing.

Anonymous said...

This is a terrible time for Lux to leave us. I can't believe he would do it unless there was something unfortunate happening in his life. I send you good wishes Lux and I'm sure many, many others do too. Please come back when you can.

Anonymous said...

Maybe something good is happening in Lux's life and he just doesn't have time anymore. I prefer to believe that. He deserves our very best wishes.

Anonymous said...

"Instead of whining about Lux's not saying good bye, we should thank him for everything he's done for such a long time and wish him the best of everything. He deserves our gratitude, good wishes and support. We'll all miss him and his great work."

Nobody's "whining" about Lux not saying good bye. We are concerned about him because it is so unlike him to just go without any word to his fans. We are very grateful to him for his good work and will miss him dreadfully. We would still like to have heard a word from him instead of such a sudden departure. He's going to be missed by a lot of people. We are fortunate to have STR otherwise we would have no way of sharing info, views, ideas, etc. The TA is good for nothing in that respect.

Anonymous said...

Of course everyone will miss Lux. His email probably till works.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Perhaps someone wants to take on the chore of maintaining a ST/PCV Facebook, which was a good, quick and efficient way of tenants speaking to each other. Of course, there IS the TA Facebook....

Anonymous said...

LOL the TA Facebook!!

Anonymous said...

The TA Facebook doesn't work. The TA wants to keep us in the dark and does not allow comments and does not give out useful information.
Lux, if you read this I beg you to come back!

Anonymous said...

I'm not really understanding why you are so quick to judge and distrust the TA. I have NO idea if the final offer will be adequate, but the TA has done monumental work with the whole J51 lawsuit and various other actions. I wouldn't automatically assume they are selling us down the river. There are affordable condos that also have rent-stabilized units--I think the ILGWA across town are like that. I think it's possible to have a deal that works for most, if not all, of the tenants (with 26,000 people here, it will be hard to please everybody). But the TA hasn't yet shown they are betraying the residents.

Anonymous said...

I personally don't believe that Lux Living closed down his site and facebook voluntarily. Why? Because he is the consummate professional when it comes to how he handles his blog and as a webmaster. Unless he sent emails to all the people who were on his subscription lists, he wouldn't just go with no word of explanation, even if it was just to say I' sick of doing this/I am not well/I'm in jail/I've entered a monastery/am running for President. He would have said something. He was whacked by the Stasi. Mark my words. If not that, then he is very ill or someone in his family is very ill.

Anonymous said...

There is more stupidity and lack of reality in this posted plan then is worth even responding to. Imagine if we had a blog run by someone with a clue and at least half-wit intelligence.

Anonymous said...

What @ 6:49 said. The TA is the only entity making a concerted, affirmative effort to bring much needed stability to stpcv. They're to be applauded.

Anonymous said...

"No, the world doesn't owe people an apartment south of 96th Street, but if we are already here, it's another issue to try to kick us out of our homes. Conversely, the world doesn't owe the wealthy carte blanche south of 96th Street."

TRUEST WORDS EVER SPOKEN!! THANK YOU STR!!
These people have NO right whatsoever to try to kick us out of homes. Who the hell do they think they are and what kind of morality do they embrace?

Anonymous said...

"If your salary is 50,000 dollars a year, and your rent is 4k a month, that leaves 2 thousand dollars for an entire year's worth of food, clothing, entertainment, etc."

When I first moved to NYC my salary was less than 50, I lived in Brooklyn, ate spaghetti and didn't travel. We all make choices, life is full of trade offs. I choose to live here and that is what it took.

"I find it pretty disgusting that you choose to attack those who cannot afford to pay market rate. I'm glad you don't live here anymore."

Talk about hateful. I now live in a cheaper apartment in the East Village because after 6yrs in NYC this is home. I can't afford rent high enough to subsidize others granted the right to the same apt but for an affordable price.

Its a deal anyone would fight to keep so I don't blame those that do but don't be angry that others don't want to pay for it.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

"There is more stupidity and lack of reality in this posted plan then is worth even responding to. Imagine if we had a blog run by someone with a clue and at least half-wit intelligence."

Yeah, and imagine if you would be intelligent enough to know when to use "then" and "than"!!! LOL.

Anonymous said...

Anon December 7, 2011 9:24 PM

You don't really understand. Rent Stabilized tenants are NOT subsidized by Market Rate tenants. They were all here before the complex was sold, and before the sale the property generated a healthy profit for Met Life, even with a lower rent roll. The fact that you are forced to pay these high rents is a matter of personal choice. Thousands of others in ST/PCV waited for as long as 10 years for the opportunity to rent an apartment at an affordable price.

If you want to bitch and moan, talk to the greedy real estate speculators who caused this mess, not about the people who have legitimate rights to be here.

Anonymous said...

Let's be clear about one thing: the current rent laws are the "rich white person Manhattan protection act." They have absolutely ZERO to do with the middle class in most cases. Let's just be honest and stop pretending that they benefit deserving people.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:42pm

He has a point -- there's no way to know if the people who have RS rates are middle class or not. The only reason they have those rates is longevity. I'm sure they feel its heartless to say they don't deserve the break they're getting, but it's equally heartless to deny that break to someone who actually needs the RS price when people who don't are getting it--and that happens every hour of every day.

All we hear, though, is "don't kick me out, I've been here forever". I'd feel that way too if I were them, but it's only supporting the legacy tenants. They were chosen due to politics, wait lists, and in the more distant past policies that excluded people due to race, sex, sexual preference, ages, and family status.

Maybe they should kick us all out, and have an application process to find genuinely needy people, then conduct a lottery to assign the apartments. That would actually make this a middle class community... whereas right now, it's anybody's guess (but probably not that). All those people calling us names, are you willing to prove you have a right to be here?

Anonymous said...

"Let's be clear about one thing: the current rent laws are the "rich white person Manhattan protection act." They have absolutely ZERO to do with the middle class in most cases. Let's just be honest and stop pretending that they benefit deserving people.

December 7, 2011 11:42 PM"


That's simply the most inaccurate and racist view one can hold on the issue. Are you jealous ? or just pitifully ignorant ?

If you fools would understand that it's not necessary that each and every apartment in NYC be considered Park Avenue quality, you would understand that the diversity of NYC is what makes it great. When it's filled with 8 million yuppies, there will be little reason for the world to care about it.

Roger Roundly said...

@ Anonymous December 7, 2011 11:42 PM

You've obviously never been to an RGB rent increase hearing. You also must not have attended any of the tenant rallies or marches last year urging the legislature to renew rent regulations and repeal vacancy decontrol. The crowds were very mixed with a large black/Latino/Asian make-up.

Here's some rent regulation history and context. For most of the 20th century, NYC had some sort of rent regulation to protect renters because the city understood that it needed to provide those protections if it wanted a to keep a viable middle class work force here. In the early 1970s, Gov Nelson Rockefeller took a leap and put an end to rent regulations -- overnight and completely. Rents skyrocketed, NYers went ballistic, and soon after Rockefeller had rent regs re-instated, but with a big change: NYC no longer had control over rent regulations, that control was mostly handed over to the state. And renters have had problems ever since.

Rent regs are not permanent. They sunset. Meaning they have to be renewed every few years by the state senate, the assembly, and then signed into law by the governor. Real estate is one of the most powerful lobbies in the state. Big real estate has donated huge amounts of campaign cash to politicians upstate (mostly GOP, but not exclusively) with few to no renters in their districts. In exchange, the upstate politicians gutted the rent regs that were extremely popular downstate. Under Gov Pataki, who was adamantly anti- rent regulation, rent regs were decimated.

The death blow came in 1997 when vacancy decontrol was passed. Anti-tenant Senate Majority leader Joe Bruno held back the legislation renewing rent regulation until 3 a.m. on the last night of the legislative year, just as rent regs were set to expire. He demanded vacancy decontrol as the price of renewal. Vacancy decontrol basically kept rent protections for occupied rent regulated apartments, but removed them forever once the tenant moved out. (BTW, the vacancy decontrol bill was put together by Pataki's transition aide Charles Urstadt, the same Charles Urstadt who put together the bill that took away NYC's home rule over rent regulation and gave it to Albany when he was Gov. Nelson Rockefeller’s housing commissioner).

Roger Roundly said...

More...There was a huge effort by tenants groups last year to repeal vacancy decontrol and re-extend rent regulation to all renters once again, but that withered on the vine because pro-landlord GOPers in control of the state senate blocked it and Gov Cuomo decided not to force the issue. (There is also an ongoing effort to repeal the law that took away NYC's right to regulate its rental housing stock).

Finally, there is a bright side to all this: redistricting. Every 10 years after the census, election districts are redrawn. By law, NY districts have to be redrawn by March 2012. Usually they are re-drawn (gerrymandered) by the party controlling the state senate. But former Mayor Koch and a bunch of reform groups have been agitating for independent redistricting and they got the governor on board. Cuomos's demanding independent redistricting and said he'll veto any legislated redistricting. GOP senate majority leader Skelos has balked, because census results indicate that indy redistricting would ABSOLUTELY lead to loss of GOP control of the state senate and continued Dem control of the Assembly. But if the GOP tries to redraw lines, Cuomo will veto and redistricting would then be thrown to the courts. That would also lead to loss of senate GOP control.

Polls indicate a big shift to the left in NYC since the economic crisis hit in 2008 and a renewed interest in seeing rental housing stock in the city re-regulated. Even the historically anti-rent regulation NY Times took a 180 degree turn last year in support of tenants during the effort to renew/expand rent regulations. If redistricting leads to a Dem Assembly, Senate, and Governor, tenants would finally be in a position to have things go our way for a change, and in a big way. If things didn't change, the pro-rent reg Democrats would have a lot of explaining to do...

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the rank, raw, boneheaded stupidity and ignorance expressed by some of the posters who are so bitterly jealous of people in rent stabilized apartments. They just don't get it that rent stabilization was not designed to keep THEM out and US in affordable apartments! It was put into place to curb the abuses of greedy, speculative developers and landlords who would have thrown middle income renters out at a moment's notice every chance they could get someone else in who would pay a dollar more. It was intended to bring STABILITY to tenants, hence the name STABILIZATION. Maybe there are some tenants who could afford to pay market rate, but not many. The majority of tenants in RS apartments qualify and you know what, no matter how much it burns you up because you can't get a RS rent, we are not moving out for you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Roundly Roger for that very well-written and clear explanation of the facts concerning Rent Stabilization. I hope the haters take the time to read it.

Now would someone please find out what happened to the Lux Life guy. I don't believe he just shut up shop of his own accord without any warning or adieu to his followers.

Anonymous said...

The people who just moved in next to me have a dog. Just to note, I love dogs. Really love them.

But now I feel like I have a dog too. When it barks, it actually sounds like it's barking IN MY APARTMENT. And this goes on all day.

I'm losing my sanity. There is no way I'd ever buy my apartment.

Anonymous said...

Funny you shld bring up the noise here. Spent last night listening to valley girl screaming, giggling and running back and forth from room to room. Seriously.

There's a definite problem with floors and walls. I'm really supposed to call security at 2 am with my kids here? Really?

Today I write the owners and tell them I'm not paying the rent until they carpet upstairs valley girls. I'm not calling security, they can piss off.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I would have no issues going upstairs and explaining to them that they are bothering me (honestly in the nicest way possible.) Actually a note would probably do this as well. Strange that you hear music from the people above you though, right?

How do I tell someone that their dog never stops barking? Isn't that like telling people to quiet their baby from crying? I FINALLY understand why people shouldn't have dogs in apartment building.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

A continually barking dog is a quality of life problem and something management should be able to take care of. If the dog-owning tenant doesn't respond to notes under the door or a personal meeting, it's time to call security.

Anonymous said...

Walls and floors way to damn thin here. All should be carpeted in my opinion. With padding.

Anonymous said...

Re the recent TA meeting, it now seems that the entire meeting is now avaiable at livestream. At the link, there now seems to be parts 1-13 with a Q&A section of parts 1-4. Total of 17 vids.

http://www.livestream.com/stpcv/video?clipId=flv_54d4e07c-81c1-40bd-8a84-9b6a310ef721&utm_source=lslibrary&utm_medium=ui-thumb

maxschactman said...

When it comes to the future of the community there are only two choices -
We buy OR another landlord buys.We know what will happens if another landlord buys.

Tudor City should be the model for what happens here.A co-op conversion,offering apts at very low prices that leaves those who choose to remain rent regulated undisturbed by the change.It worked beautifully at Tudor City and everyone was truly happy,buyers and rent regulated renters.Despite the old condition of those buildings maintenance fees were very reasonable.After down payment the combined mort. and maint fees were roughly equal to prior rents.The buildings were well funded enough for upgrades and both owners and regulated renters enjoy the benfit of those upgrades.

That is why I am dismayed by the rejection of Guterman's simple,co-op conversion plan.

Anonymous said...

Re the recent TA meeting, it now seems that the entire meeting is now avaiable at livestream. At the link, there now seems to be parts 1-13 with a Q&A section of parts 1-4. Total of 17 vids.

So what. Who cares. I didn't go to the meeting because I didn't want to hear all the lies and BS coming from these prevaricators or the politicians either. This BS deal is going nowhere.

Anonymous said...

Many people have longed for the old days when Mother Met Life took care of all her children and others blast them for that and say it will never be that way again. I don't know. Yet, still, I long for the old Tenants Association not the current one with the soon to be market raters pushing their agenda. With all due respect (and he deserves respect)I long for the old Al Doyle, the one who would never have stood by and watched as management forced dogs, and bikes and circuses and illegal commercial ventures. That TA with Joann Polise and Al taking on Met Life to assure that they took care of the RS people. How I wish we had THAT Al Doyle and Joann and the board and volunteers of the old TA. It really is a shame to see how far the TA has fallen and I dont believe they will ever recover. I was recently given a handout regarding a potential new TA that is forming for RS tenants only, I sure hope that pans out. Anyone have any info on that??

Anonymous said...

STR, I like your plan but I am wondering how you would get it implemented. Have you spoken to any possible financial backers about your ideas?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm sure a CEO responsible for 150 billion dollars in assets gave up his Saturday at Baruch because it's a BS, no-chance deal...

Anonymous said...

to: 4:53 pm

but why? are you happy with the present slumlords, or the prior?

are you dreaming of days that are not returning?
What would you like US to dream about?

We're all fairly CERTAIN that our next landlord will be another nightmare and beyond. YOU OK WITH THAT?

Anonymous said...

Why weren't the three top contenders for the property revealed to the tenants before going with a Brookfield Condo Conversion? Then there could have been some real discussion rather than being presented with a fait accompli. Maybe the Guterman plan was not good, but it should have been discussed at a tenant meeting. All of these corporations including Brookfield are in it for the $. They are not charitable institutions. Why can't tenants vote on the best plan for tenants instead of leaving it to the Board and the Councilmember?

Anonymous said...

I love reading STR, but I am going to miss the LL facebook, particularly Lo Rhent. I kinda wonder if he is/was LL himself????? I tried to post a comment on the TA site regarding the Ice Skating Rink and even though I am a member of the TA I was not allowed to post. It said something I wasn't registered??? Their facebook page is non-existent. Lux, please come back with facebook. STR, please don't leave us too. I am suffering from acute separation anxiety. I didn't ever post on Lux's forum or facebook, but I sured loved reading the facebook comments, etc. (I didn't read the forum much because there was too much blathering. I can go to a TA meeting to listen to that!)

Anonymous said...

It is amusing to see how FURIOUS people get when someone questions their rent-stabilized status. There ARE middle class people here, but there ALSO are those with summer homes, or lake homes, or ski homes, etc. which are subsidized by the low rents they are paying. Maybe they were middle class when they moved in 30 years ago, but they moved up the income ladder and their rent did not. It's just a fact. Why would that make readers so angry when it is stated?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, Roger.
Thanks for keeping it going, STR.

No good deed goes unpunished! Thanks, Lux, for your positively heroic work over the years. You really deserve to move on, in peace! Best of luck.

dcf (That's my two sons and my late dog, not my initials.)

Stuy Town Reporter said...

"There ARE middle class people here, but there ALSO are those with summer homes, or lake homes, or ski homes, etc. which are subsidized by the low rents they are paying."

Perhaps some, but they could still be middle class, having worked for a long time to get a summer home someplace. Most of the tenants I know do not have such extra homes and will find it difficult to finance the TA-Brookfield plan.

Anonymous said...

maxschactman said...

What Max doesn't tell you is that the people who bought in when Tudor City did their conversion got hosed. If they are lucky, they are just NOW getting financially back above the water line. That's a long time, folks.

Maybe Max is telling us to pass on the deal and to stay on as renters. Hey, thanks Max!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

"I tried to post a comment on the TA site regarding the Ice Skating Rink and even though I am a member of the TA I was not allowed to post. It said something I wasn't registered??? Their facebook page is non-existent."

You have to be a member of Facebook and accepted by the TA Facebook to post. Otherwise, the TA Facebook should be available for tenants to post on.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

"STR, I like your plan but I am wondering how you would get it implemented. Have you spoken to any possible financial backers about your ideas?"

My plan doesn't need financial backers, only the will of the people and the politicians who claim they are for affordability and the middle class.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

BTW, I miss Lo Rhent too!

Anonymous said...

I can tell you why Lux stopped: no one was paying him for that hard work he was doing, and in fact, he took a large amount of crap. Why would anyone work that hard for free, and usually getting no credit?

Anonymous said...

I got the Guterman letter tonight and I read it and tossed it. I wouldn't buy into this rancid dump under either the Guterman proposal or the TA/Brookfield proposal as long as this place continues as a dorm. I've got students upstairs, downstairs and to the side of me. I am fed up of their woo-hooing, braying, fucking, stamping around on their uncarpeted floors at all hours of the night and day and playing their fucking music at top volume. I call Public Safety and it does no good. The minute PS leaves, the rev up the volume again. I wish they would all DROP DEAD and I mean that sincerely and literally. Buy into this hell hole? I don't think so!

Anonymous said...

http://www.protectstpcv.org/

Website referenced by TA at last week's meeting.

Anonymous said...

How charming! Another cranky old person paying $650/month for an unrenovated apartment, longing for the days when he could do anything remotely similar to "fucking". The statement about young people said it all. A psychiatrist would have a field day with these dying people and their feelings about the newer residents. Sad, truly.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

"Another cranky old person paying $650/month for an unrenovated apartment...."

I really, really doubt anyone in ST/PCV is paying only $650 per month. I've been here for over 20 years and my rent is edging close to 2K at this point.

Anonymous said...

"Another cranky old person paying $650/month for an unrenovated apartment...."

I've been here 31 years. My apartment started in 1980 at $350 per month. Now, with all the mci increases and rgb increases it is close to $1,700. It is a one-bedroom, unrenovated unit. I wish it was $650 per month! It might be worth the bs we have to put up with then!

Anonymous said...

BTW, I miss Lo Rhent too!

It's too bad Lux couldn't have left the facebook page up and just taken the forum down. The TA facebook doesn't seem to be up and when it comes to commenting on any TA forum or facebook, there is very heavy censorship as in you cannot disagree with the TA. You toe the party line or yerrrrrout!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

"The TA facebook doesn't seem to be up and when it comes to commenting on any TA forum or facebook, there is very heavy censorship as in you cannot disagree with the TA. You toe the party line or yerrrrrout!"

Last I checked the TA Facebook was online. I have not tested out the theory that if one doesn't toe the TA party line, one gets bounced, but it would be a real shame if that were so. I can understand deleting posts, and eventually an account, if the poster is insulting or out-of-control, but, otherwise, all views should be acceptable to post. It is OUR association, after all.

Anonymous said...

STR, I went to the TA Facebook and just got the blank page to create an account. The TA Facebook used to be up and readable (couldn't post if you didn't have an account), but now that has gone away. Also, I tried to comment in the regular comment box concerning the icerink and was not allowed to even though I am a dues-paying member of the TA. Their site is not at all user-friendly in my opinion. It's a totally one-way traffic account, at least for now!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Were you banned before? I still get the TA Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/groups/358760671689/

Anonymous said...

Were you banned before? I still get the TA Facebook page:

No! I only used to read it occasionally. Never commented on it! I've never been banned from anywhere! Not even a bar! (I guess I've led a boring life!)

Anonymous said...

"BTW, I miss Lo Rhent too!

It's too bad Lux couldn't have left the facebook page up and just taken the forum down. The TA facebook doesn't seem to be up and when it comes to commenting on any TA forum or facebook, there is very heavy censorship as in you cannot disagree with the TA. You toe the party line or yerrrrrout!"

Lo say "toe." You supposed to say "tow." You come to my Oval English class Sunday in the morning at 7am and I teach you.

Anonymous said...

"Lo say "toe." You supposed to say "tow." You come to my Oval English class Sunday in the morning at 7am and I teach you."

I'll be there Lo! Please don't go away!

Anonymous said...

Oval English session cancel. Manny kick me out of Amanatee center! Never trust that Manny.

Now we meet at Loisaida cultural center. Coffee better there, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Tell Manny to get his blog back up. Or at least his facebook. I miss those montages of our beautiful recycling rooms! Manny must be on the lam. He gave away Adam Rose's umbrella by mistake. Don't worry, Manny. We will bail you out.

Anonymous said...

I like the coffee at Oval Amanatee Center. It has that pungent note of gorgonzola. That is because Manny likes to wash his socks in the hot water before he uses it to brew the coffee every morning. It's an acquired taste, of course. Only the most sophisticated pallet can appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

What does "no transients" mean in English? Are people not allowed to change jobs, to move to another state, to get married and move in with their spouse in another part of town? This does not make any sense. Just making my two cents known.

Anonymous said...

What "transients" means in the context of STPCV is the large group of people who are just passing through. The people who rent by the night/week/month from those unscrupulous tenants who rent out their apartments as hotels; the students who are here for a semester or two and then move on. Transients are the people who don't come here with any intention of staying and becoming part of the community, if only for a year or two, but are really just passing through, using the facilities and, because they have no long term investment in them, leaving them in a mess. Does that answer your question?

maxschactman said...

Anonymous said...
maxschactman said...
"What Max doesn't tell you is that the people who bought in when Tudor City did their conversion got hosed. If they are lucky, they are just NOW getting financially back above the water line. That's a long time, folks."

A bizarre comment obviously based on complete ignorance.
I bought my studio apt. in 1990 for 42K and sold in 2003 for 135K.ALL Tudor City buyers are well in the black,have been for many years,even with the real estate downturn.