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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rent Shocker for Roberts Settlement Tenants



Judging by comments on today's TA Facebook page, tenants who were part of the Roberts settlement are getting quite a shock with the new rent bills they are receiving.  It seems that one of the agreements in the settlement accepted the right of the landlord, CWCapital, to raise rents in the middle of a lease, and that is precisely what the landlord, showing complete disdain for its market-rate paying tenants, is doing, from hundreds of dollars to over a thousand!  Anyway this is clearly an outrage, but one that the lawyers on both sides were aware of and signed onto. That the lawyers on the side of the tenants agreed to this is bewildering, frustrating and surely infuriating.

Couples and families are now faced with the near immediate prospect of paying a higher rent next month, in some case $1,000 and more, or moving out, while paying the higher rent until they find another place to reside.

Councilman Dan Garodnick is quoted as saying: "CW Capital has the right to raise rents in the middle of the lease term once this settlement is final. While this may become their legal right, any effort to raise rents on residents during their current leases will be met with sure and certain opposition from the entire community, the local elected officials, and the broader community of tenant activists."

What? Garodnick, a lawyer himself, didn't see this coming???  A lot of us non-lawyers on the sidelines predicted that the Roberts settlement was going to be a win-win for the lawyers and, ultimately, for CWCapital.

A tenant lawyer on the Roberts case pours salt on the wound with this comment:  "Because the notices of increase are based on the terms of the class members' leases we cannot provide advice on the issue as part of the Roberts case. Instead, class members should contact CW's leasing office directly regarding these notices. We have been informed that CW has set up a hotline for any questions regarding the notices, 212-253-3670."

UPDATE: Even though I have serious concerns about how some newer market-rate paying tenants consider the old timers here ("leeches" who aren't paying their "fair share"), I think all of us should stand together and voice our strong displeasure and anger at the outrageous raising of rents mid-lease.  Some rents are being hiked up over $1000!

The TA is asking the people affected to contact it via its Facebook page:

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

While the Town & Village newspaper is requesting similar contact on its page:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Town-Village/146960575361947

or by calling T&V at (212) 777-6611 x104

THE TIME HAS COME TO MAKE SOME SERIOUS NOISE!!!

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

The full quote from the Roberts attorney is as follows "As the Roberts attorneys have discussed previously, including at the Roberts Settlement Workshop, the current tenants have all signed leases that provide that when a judicial determination is made as to the maximum rents that can be charged, the owners would have the right to immediately raise the rents to that amount. The settlement of the Roberts case operates as that judicial determination, but did not itself "allow" the owners to raise the rents - instead, this was agreed to in the tenant's leases. And more importantly, in light of this term of the lease the Roberts attorneys fought hard to mitigate this term by allowing class members to reject such an increase and terminate their lease without penalty. If any class member has questions about the lease provision itself, they should contact a tenant's attorney. We, as counsel for the class, cannot address any such questions for individual class members.

Also, because the notices of increase are based on the terms of the class members' leases we cannot provide advice on the issue as part of the Roberts case. Instead, class members should contact CW's leasing office directly regarding these notices. We have been informed that CW has set up a hotline for any questions regarding the notices, 212-253-3670."

Stuy Town Reporter said...

So anyone signing a lease after Roberts would have had that clause in the lease. And the tenant lawyers "fought hard" to get a clause allowing the tenant to terminate their lease without penalty, but nothing more was won?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you will edit your post to reflect the full quote of the attorney in order to be "fair and balanced"

Anonymous said...

This is one major clusterf**k. And you know that the vast majority of the residents who will be forced to move out due to these unconscionable mid lease increases were at least somewhat committed to this place as a home and community. Those who move in to replace them will be the usual suspect student/just post college/transient/roomate demo that CWC (and Bloomberg/Quinn) love. Let the churning begin. A major win- win for CWC.

Anonymous said...

I am a lawyer and I am appalled at the terrible settlement the tenants' lawyers agreed to. And they got paid millions of dollars for this lousy settlement.

Anonymous said...

I've posted here several times about the inefficiency and inequity of the RS / RC system, and I'm all for letting the market price itself, but raising people's rents mid lease is f***ing disgusting.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>I'm sure you will edit your post to reflect the full quote of the attorney in order to be "fair and balanced"<<

I changed a sentence. And that's it. Bottom line is that the lawyers for the tenants did not fight to alter, delete or minimize a lease that let's the landlord raise rents mid-lease. If I'm wrong, please explain to me where and how.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

A post on the TA Facebook says it all:

What is a lease if they can increase your rent in the middle? A one bedroom went from $2975 to $3575 with a 15 day warning? WTF?? I can't breath. This can not be happening. We have no laundry, no storage room, no bike room, just got a subpar intercom system that my name is not even on, no gym, no kids club, no library, all the amenities that I rented here for. And they are raising rent $600? Who are they trying to get to live here? WHO CAN AFFORD THAT for a one bedroom in this family community? SO NO RIGHT. Where is the management office? HELP, HELP, HELP!

Anonymous said...

Dan Garodnick is such a "tool"!

This is outrageous.

Anonymous said...

ST/PCV gas become a very very scary place in which to live.

very scary.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I'm sure that's a "has" rather than "gas" in the comment above.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

If this states what I think it states, then the market-rate paying tenants were really rolled over. From Dan Garodnick, again:

"For each of these 4,311 units (and for all units in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper for that matter), residents enjoy the benefits of rent-stabilization as long as the state continues to renew the law. Most importantly, it means that all rents have been capped, and may only go up by the amount set by the Rent Guidelines Board. It also confers certain other rights, such as succession – but succession rights are limited only to spouses who are on the lease as of the time this settlement becomes effective."

That's a very strange succession right.

Anonymous said...

That's not a succession right. That's being a tenant on the lease! They must have REALLY paid off the named plaintiffs, Garodnick, the judge, and even that couple who originally filed the objection and then suddenly withdrew it before the deadline even passed.

Anonymous said...

This place really is scary. I feel like I'm living under a Fascist regime. You never know what they'll do next (including entering your apartment and leaving the door open when you are not there and without your permission). It has become a reign of terror. Now they're harassing older tenants on the pretext of checking for pressure walls. What's next with these evil bastards? I would put nothing past them and I think they should be investigated by the AG.

Anonymous said...

This story is now in the Daily News.

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/stuyway-robbier-cry-tenants-article-1.1344287

Anonymous said...

I'm a lawyer, though not a landlord-tenant lawyer, and I didn't see this coming. I considered the lease clause a classic overreaching and that in any court, it would not be enforceable, and that we as tenants were basically left with no choice but to sign it or move out.

henri cervantes said...

somebody explain to me if i have it right.
they moved in here with a lease that said (example) $3500.
the court said they were paying too much and rolled it back to (example) $2500 retroactively but not henceforth. in other words, they weren't market rate when they moved in, but they are now.
and now they are being moved back to what they agreed to pay in the first place.
i guess it's unfair, they should have moved here 20 or 40 years ago.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I don't understand your point. Is is that these residents are out of luck and they have to live with the results of the Roberts settlement?

The outrage here is not just that CWCapital is using its supposed legal right to raise rents on these people so dramatically, the outrage is that the lawyers for the tenants didn't fight hard enough for the very tenants they represented and the politicians did basically nothing, except hope that a resolution of the Roberts case would quicken tenant ownership of this complex.

Anonymous said...

And, for those that think this is just a "Roberts lease thing," don't you think for one minute that they won't just turn around and raise the non-Roberts rents, including all the old leases. If no one stops this, no one will stop them from chasing the rest of you out. They will evict you and no one will stop it. We have to put aside us v. thems and stick together. The TA only serves to divide us.

henri cervantes said...

my question was, are they being told their rent is being raised to what it was initially, before Roberts was decided?
When Roberts came along, didn't everyone say, big victory for the market rate tenants? and now, all of a sudden, it's not a big victory?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>And, for those that think this is just a "Roberts lease thing," don't you think for one minute that they won't just turn around and raise the non-Roberts rents, including all the old leases. If no one stops this, no one will stop them from chasing the rest of you out. They will evict you and no one will stop it. We have to put aside us v. thems and stick together. The TA only serves to divide us.<<

I completely disagree with your last sentence. The TA is the only unified body around that can handle tenant concerns. THE ONLY ONE. And it fights for ALL tenants. As for the rest, there are, thankfully, rent protections that prevent what you state from happening. At least now.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>When Roberts came along, didn't everyone say, big victory for the market rate tenants? and now, all of a sudden, it's not a big victory?<<

Not everyone, not me. But, yes, the lawyers and politicians did state what a great victory was Roberts.

Anonymous said...

These mid-lease rent hikes are a real gutless move by CWC, and I'm just as mad as anybody about it, but you can't blame Dan Garodnick for it. He had nothing to do with the Roberts case, or the terms that were negotiated, and neither did the TA. Blame the lawyers and those that agreed to settle for that one. I'm glad he's at least staging a press conference about this. Shining a light on CWC and its crass moves is the best you can hope for now. Hopefully THIS will become a story in the media, and drown out Bikini-gate. But just to be safe, I'd suggest Dan show a little side boob.

Anonymous said...

They can't raise the traditional RS rents in the middle of a lease (without an MCI). That's against the RS law. What they can do is harass those tenants, which they seem to have begun doing by instituting a round of apartment inspections. Maybe we were all a little asleep and not thinking CW would take advantage ferociously of what the decision allows them to do. Shame on the lawyers who screwed this up.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>These mid-lease rent hikes are a real gutless move by CWC, and I'm just as mad as anybody about it, but you can't blame Dan Garodnick for it.<<

You're correct that Garodnick had nothing to do with the Roberts case. But he was enthusiastic about it and the settlement, and was even crowing about how there were no objections to it, when, in fact, there were objections, but later withdrawn.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

For Garodnick and others, the issue was to get the Roberts case settled, so that condo-ownership could potentially be actualized. The Roberts case was holding up sale of this complex. I'm sure there was pressure put on the tenant lawyers and the objectors to get the case resolved, the sooner the better.

Anonymous said...

The TA is all we have on our side, so join it now and whine about it later. It was decimated by the pushing out of long time tenants who it achieved a lot for over the years. MetLife tried to break it (when it was going MR) and demanded a list of its membership, which the TA refused to do. This was under the fascist bastard Benmoshe. The TA has a history to be proud of and which most of you don't know about.

tsvets said...

I am in shock and disbelief. My rent is going up $1000 within two weeks? How can this be legal? How is this at all OK? How is this a "win" for the tenants?

Anonymous said...

I completely disagree with your last sentence. The TA is the only unified body around that can handle tenant concerns. THE ONLY ONE. And it fights for ALL tenants. As for the rest, there are, thankfully, rent protections that prevent what you state from happening. At least now.

I couldn't disagree more.
The TA is and has been irrelevant since the board decided (behind closed doors without memberships approval) that they wanted to become owners. They set much of this in motion along with of course Dan Garodnick.

Anonymous said...

The TA is all we have on our side, so join it now and whine about it later. It was decimated by the pushing out of long time tenants who it achieved a lot for over the years. MetLife tried to break it (when it was going MR) and demanded a list of its membership, which the TA refused to do. This was under the fascist bastard Benmoshe. The TA has a history to be proud of and which most of you don't know about.

I agree the TA was once a force but they have made themselves irrelevant. It was decimated by its own decisions. I am a long timer who didn't allow anyone to push me out but I quit the TA over 5 years ago when they wanted to buy the place for more than $4 billion, imagine the state this place would be in now had they been able to accomplish this.

Anonymous said...

The TA and Dan Garodnick were the loudest cheerleaders for the Roberts settlement. Now they are blaming the lawyers for the debacle. Disingenuous at best.

Anonymous said...

Give the T A a chance, please. You,are playing into the hands of the enemy if you don't. Sure it pushed for conversion, but nobody was forced to join that bandwagon. Goradnick and Brookfield were the ones who would profit from that and we know lawyers and RE companies are not to be trusted. At this time, please stand with the TA and forget the silliness. They are all we've got.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a little much to say the TA and Garodnick cheered the settlement. They certainly viewed it as a positive in the sense that it was over. Dan went on record stating he was concerned about many of the terms and conditions that were agreed upon.

Anonymous said...

I live in one of the Robert's apartments but as of this morning we had not received a notice. Does this mean our rent is not being increased, or is this just a waiting game to get a notice under our door?

This is an absolute outrage. Giving someone two weeks to pay rent that is a few hundred to over a thousand dollars more is unreasonable. SO many are living in buildings with no basements, no laundry, no storage, and are now expected to pay insanely more for so much less? Even if these increases are Legal, they are immoral and wrong and all of those involved should be very ashamed.

Anonymous said...

"I live in one of the Robert's apartments but as of this morning we had not received a notice."

With its usual incompetence, CW managed to screw up handing out the notices. One of my neighbors got the correct one, along with some for other apartments.

Anonymous said...

The outrage of the Roberts settlement is that it didn't truly put the apartments back into RS. I'm referring to the succession issue, if in fact only spouses can succeed to a Roberts apartment.

The other outrage is that the rents weren't all rolled back to what they were for the first tenant following the renovation. That would have penalized the landlords for all the harassment and the churning.

With multiple tenants in these apartments having multiple incomes and the rents being above the decontrol amount, when the J51 ends, it looks pretty certain that these apartments will easily qualify to be taken out of RS. More of the older tenants will have died by then too. It's another waiting game now.

One good thing about Roberts is that it applies to lots of other apartments in the state, so let's hope that others have received some benefits.

Anonymous said...

I think it's a little much to say the TA and Garodnick cheered the settlement. They certainly viewed it as a positive in the sense that it was over. Dan went on record stating he was concerned about many of the terms and conditions that were agreed upon.

Totally not true. See latest post on this blog for what Dan really said about this "victory for tenants" His own words don't lie like his supporters do.

Anonymous said...

Give the T A a chance, please. You,are playing into the hands of the enemy if you don't. Sure it pushed for conversion, but nobody was forced to join that bandwagon. Goradnick and Brookfield were the ones who would profit from that and we know lawyers and RE companies are not to be trusted. At this time, please stand with the TA and forget the silliness. They are all we've got.

Sorry but no. The board of directors of the TA sold residents out. Period.

Anonymous said...

The woo hoo girls in my building just got their notice. They are screaming that they are going to move. Maybe this isn't so bad after all.

Anonymous said...

.........The woo hoo girls in my building just got their notice. They are screaming that they are going to move. Maybe this isn't so bad after all.


Nature abhors a vacuum.

Anonymous said...

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Yeah, whatever. Say what you want, I don't care as long as these girls leave its a win win.

Anonymous said...

CW gets to charge higher rents immediately; meanwhile, those of us with claims have to wait to get their money for between 6 months and 2 years as Berdon Claims says it may take that long to process. Why does CW get to ring the register while we have to wait, not earning a nickel in interest. This who settlement is a scam to get paid by the lawyers.