Comment Policy

All comments to posts have to await approval. Please be aware that, depending on when I'm logged onto the internet, it may take me hours, even longer, to moderate comments, so if they don't turn up in a speedy fashion, they are still in the queue. Comments that cross a line I'm not comfortable with will not get approved. NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NYS Attorney Moves on Mid-Term Lease Increases

From the Tenants Association:

An investigation by the NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman into the leasing practices of CWCapital has resulted in settlement for affected tenants.  Those affected need to act quickly with a deadline of June 30th.

The New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has stepped in to address a deceptive practice in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.

The Tenants Association was outraged by the mid-lease increases announced by CWCapital on May 15, made even worse by the fact that leasing agents had promised many tenants that no such increases would ever happen.  We were committed to fighting back and are pleased to report a significant victory.

After receiving a complaint by our City Councilman and neighbor Dan Garodnick, the Attorney General conducted an investigation into the representations being made by CWCapital leasing agents to prospective renters.

The Tenants Association worked diligently over the past few weeks with Councilman Garodnick to identify affected tenants who were misled, and to ask them to share their stories.  We were extremely pleased to see that the Attorney General took this matter seriously and pushed CWCapital to a positive outcome.

CWCapital settled the issue with the Attorney General by promising to roll back mid-lease increases for any tenant who was told by a leasing agent-either verbally or in writing-that their rent would not go up in the middle of the term.  CWCapital also committed to not implementing any further mid-lease rent increases. 

Over the weekend, CompassRock (on behalf of CWCapital) distributed a letter and affidavit under the doors of the affected tenants.  If you got one of those letters, you should fill it out.  If a leasing agent told you-in any way-that your rent would not go up in the middle of your lease, you need to explain that in as much detail as you can recall. 
You will need to bring the unsigned affidavit to a notary, sign the affidavit in presence of the notary, and send it back by June 30. 

We repeat and clarify the instructions (below) for tenants who want to act now.

Commenting on the settlement,
Stuyvesant Town - Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association President John Marsh said, "We appreciate the Attorney General's taking the important action that he did.  The allegations of misrepresentations were serious and numerous.  We urge all those who received either written or verbal assurances that their rent would not be increased mid-lease to sign and return the affidavit."  Tenants Association Board Chair Susan Steinberg added, "This is another example of the TA's strength in advocating for tenants.  That strength lies in our ability to organize, to communicate, and to provide forums for tenants to share ideas and information.  That's what makes participating as a member key." 

TO TENANTS WHO RECEIVED THE LETTER AND AFFIDAVIT

This is a formal document that has been approved by the Attorney General.  By signing this document and sharing your story, you very likely will be able to keep your rent from going up before the end of the lease term. 

Here is what you need to do:

Complete the affidavit and sign it in front of a notary public. If you have an e-mail or other correspondence with a renting agent, attach it.  If you simply recall a conversation on the matter of the mid-lease clause, write about it in the space provided.

Take the affidavit and any supporting material to be notarized. You must appear in person to sign and show photo ID. To facilitate this process, Tenants Association volunteers with a notary's license will be available, at no charge, at the Community Center Tuesday, June 18, Thursday, June 20, and Tuesday, June 25, between 6:00 and 8:00 pm., Saturday, June 22 and Sunday, June 23 between 2:00 and 4:00 pm.  Please note that a notary only affirms your signature, not the content of the document.

(If you have discarded the material that came under your door, thinking it was a ruse, you can pick up a new affidavit at the Community Center at those hours) or print out the letter and affidavit linked here.

Return the notarized affidavit and support material, if any,
by June 30th to: 

Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York
Attn: Elissa Rossi
Real Estate Finance Bureau
120 Broadway, 23rd Floor
New York, NY 10271

Send a copy of this affidavit to: 
PCVST Legal Department
Attention:  Roberts Administrator
317 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009

Important:  Your response must be postmarked no later than June 30, 2013

See the Attorney General's press release detailing the investigation and settlement here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Me:  Congratulations to the TA and Councilman Garodnick for pressing on this matter and thanks to the NYS Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman!

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just when I was about to give up hope....This is the best news----Thank you all for the help needed to save our homes

Anonymous said...

So those increases will now simply be given at the end of the lease term. I hope nobody gets into trouble by falsifying an affidavit, because I doubt all 1300 of those leaseholders were lied to.

In any event, glad that people were given a reprieve until their leases expire to make the decision as to staying or going.

Anonymous said...

So what if I didn't talk to a leasing agent, but have a rent increase? Am I screwed?

Anonymous said...

You talked to a leasing agent, okay?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that my beloved Stuyvesant Town, that I was born and raised in, has been plunged into this abyss of greed and evil. It is really sickening.

Anonymous said...

So who was affected? are we sure on 1300?

i honestly do not know anyone who i having this issue.

????

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at June 18, 2013 at 8:54 PM

You definitely sound like you work for CompassRock.

Yes, "increases will now simply be given at the end of the lease term", and at least now we have some time to figure out how to proceed.

To your next point. How do you know how many people were lied to? I sure as hell had a conversation with the leasing agent before signing our mid-lease rider and I'm pretty sure anyone with a functioning cortex did too. And I sure as hell recall those conversations (two of them with two different agents, both female, one on the phone), though I'm not sure how you expect those liars to keep track of their thousands of lies.

I don't think that the Attorney General will tolerate Compass Rick fucking with us further. If anyone has concerns though, he or she should speak to an attorney about it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 9:18pm last night,

It is unlikely that anyone signed the lease without first seeking assurance regarding the rider included with it. Even if you don't remember, it was probably explained to you at some point and you were told not to worry about it.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has ever overheard a leasing office tour knows they lie through their teeth and tell the potential renters anything and everything they want to hear. I'd bet my right arm this is not limited to a few people. It's always easier to tell the truth.

Anonymous said...

Do these CW people realize they ate dealing with the toughest people on the planet I.e. New Yorkers? The fucking Taliban isn't as tough as we are. Why does Charlie MacArthur or whatever his stupid name is, think we are going to give him a pass more than any other crook, creep or terrorist who ever tried to fuck us over.

Anonymous said...

So you're saying people should lie on their affidavit if they didn't have this conversation?

Anonymous said...

@ June 19, 2013 at 5:34 PM,

CW got caught with their hand in the cookie jar and the AG is penalizing them by denying some of their revenue from mid-lease increases that they won't be able to collect. Then, when the leases are up for renewal, they will fuck you over.

Read Charles Bagli's book and find out what Andrew McArthur is all about.

Anonymous said...

"So you're saying people should lie on their affidavit if they didn't have this conversation?"

No one should lie. Ever.

But I'm sure that everyone that signed that document can recall the conversation they had with a leasing agent regarding the mid-lease increase rider and why they would never enforce it.

Everyone can recall that conversation. Everyone.

Anonymous said...

Sean Sullivan is gone.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Source?

Anonymous said...

Sean Sullivan takes being gone very seriously!

Anonymous said...

Just checked. His bio IS missing from www.compassrockrealestate.com/pcvst-new-york.

Not sure where the other commenter got their info from but THIS is a recent change (to their website).

Anonymous said...

T&V has reported that Sean Sullivan was fired.

Anonymous said...

Town & Village just reported Sean Sullivan is OUT! Good riddance!

http://town-village.com/2013/06/20/stuy-town-general-manager-sean-sullivan-let-go/

Anonymous said...

T&V has report on Sean Sullivan. No word on why he was axed, but I appreciate the report.

Anonymous said...

http://town-village.com/2013/06/20/stuy-town-general-manager-sean-sullivan-let-go/

Sullivan gone.

Anonymous said...

If Sean S is out all that means is CWCampusRock (a) found a convenient fall guy for its endless list of screw-ups and bad-press generating cold-blooded biz decisions (b) maybe gets out of paying any golden parachute (c) all of the above.

Nevertheless, we're still stuck with CWCampusRock and all the horrors associated with an entity whose only concerned is paying off bondholders and who could give two shits about the people it leases apartments to.

On the bright side for Sean S: At least his endless nightmare is over.

Anonymous said...

It's true. See T&V: http://town-village.com/2013/06/20/stuy-town-general-manager-sean-sullivan-let-go/

Anonymous said...

Gone gone gone ooooh oh oh.

Anonymous said...

OH WHAT WONDERFUL NEWS THE INEFFCITVE SEAN SULLIVAN HAS BEEN FIRED OR LET GO OR HE MOVED ON I DONT CARE WHY HES GONE ITS IMPORTANTHE IS GONE!!! ONE DOWN ONE TO GO GET READY MONSTER MACARTHUR!

Anonymous said...

Sean Sullivan was never here.

Shakespeare for everyone!

Anonymous said...

STR,

Good work on getting this story out!

Everyone needs to know.

Anonymous said...

Look at this apartment for rent. Looks like ST/PCV to me. It is a one bedroom converted to a two bedroom with minimal living area, says it is in Gramercy Park and is less than $3100 a month with the first month free. This is significantly less than the 1300 mid rent lease increase the one bedrooms received. Seems like CW is continuing to suck in renters at lower prices using outside real estate firms and will probably hit them with inflated lease renewals, hope they leave and jack up the rent even higher. Pretty clever way to get renters in and circumvent the negative publicity right now with PCV/ST. This is is a pretty well known real estate firm Netseekers.

http://www.nestseekers.com/25943/gramercy-manhattan-xlarge-convertible-two-bedroom-in-prime

Anonymous said...

On the Nestseekers site, that apt has a pic of a Living Room, but the ground plan shows a fake wall & a "common room." Isn't calling it a "common room" just a way to get around the illegality of having a living room (without its required window)? Also wondering why the pictures & plan for this apt wouldn't resemble one another more? In their own words, "it's a veritable two bedroom" as if they need to convince even themselves of the pure outrageousness. finally, it's not Gramercy Park at all. TO say it's on East 17th Street in Gramercy is as close to false advertising as I've come across lately. Better Business Bureau? 311? Which agency actually gives a fuck these days? Surely the FDNY will want to know about the windowless Living Room. I thought we were done with these games; I guess not!

Anonymous said...

The Roberts litigation was a farce. By placing Market Rate apartments under Rent Stabilization, and then continuing to turn those apartments over, time after time, creating huge "legal" rent figures, CW creates a no-limit rental environment.

Somebody should explain these mid-lease rent increase clauses on the lease riders. Are they only applicable to the Roberts class leases, and are they a 1 time only occurrence ? It seems to me that ANY increase that's not authorized by the RGB wouldn't be allowed.

Anonymous said...

12:52!!!

We know. They've been doing this since FOREVER.

And so did Tishman and everyone other landlord management company will continue to do here.

?

Anonymous said...

So now Dan Garodnick is a big hero?


Gimme a break.

Anonymous said...

"While management employees and tenants don’t always see eye to eye, Sullivan has been described as a straight shooter by tenant leaders in ST/PCV."

As far as I can tell, he took a shot at all of us. I guess he missed...

Anonymous said...

So now Dan Garodnick is a big hero?

Not a big hero, but getting mid-leases rescinded for those people lied to ought to be acknowledged as pretty effective advocacy on his part.



Anonymous said...

11:03: Bedrooms have to have a window. I don't that's a requirement for living spaces.

Anonymous said...

That didn't happen! Let's talk Shaksp... what? Gather my belongings? I'm what???

Anonymous said...

@11:08AM According to NYC DOB: All rooms are required to have windows (non-lot line views, on exterior walls) except for "home offices," kitchens, and bathrooms. No window means that according to the NYC Building Code you do not have a Living Room, you have a "hallway with furniture." (Further discussion & explanation of this can be found at: http://streeteasy.com/nyc/talk/discussion/30292?limit=20&recent_first=true)

Anonymous said...

An apartment is required to have a living room to be a legal class-a dwelling, and a room must have at least 2 means of egress, including a window, to be a legal room. I've never heard a reasonable explanation regarding the legality of converting living rooms into bedrooms and creating windowless "common rooms?" Was there a stretching of the rules?

Anonymous said...

Boy, CW, settled pretty quickly with the Attorney General's Office regarding leasing agents promising no mid lease rent increases, even though a written and signed rider was in the new leases. Maybe a little too quick. I guess CW doesn't want the Attorney General looking over their paperwork too closely. Also, stop with all this Sean Sullivan stuff, he was just a fall guy. Maybe we should stop targeting all the flunkies at Compass Rock Real Estate Management Company whom we see and start naming and talking about the person who is really making the decisions. Walker & Dunlop own CW and the guy approving everything that goes on at PCV/ST is Willy Walker, Chairman, President & CEO, Walker & Dunlop. Walker & Dunlop now own CW Capital and CW is operated through three subsidiaries: CWCapital Asset Management LLC (Special Servicing), CWCapital Investments LLC (Investment Management and Consulting) and CompassRock Real Estate LLC (Property Management)
http://www.cwcapital.com/AboutCW/Pages/Default.aspx

Anonymous said...

You can read about and see a photo of Willy Walker (Number 30) at http://commercialobserver.com/2013/03/mo-top-50/#slide30

Anonymous said...

Will Walker or Willy Wonker? Well, maybe Willy Wanker. Just answered my own question!

Anonymous said...

Willy Whatsit:

http://www.walkerdunlop.com/Pages/Profiles/Willy-Walker.aspx

Anonymous said...

So now Dan Garodnick is a big hero?

Not a big hero, but getting mid-leases rescinded for those people lied to ought to be acknowledged as pretty effective advocacy on his part.

Since it was Garodnick and the TA who led them to be screwed in the first place, I'd say his fellow Democrat (Schniederman sp?)cut this deal with CWC to save Garodnick's butt. I still hope someone runs against him (not that they would win, this is NY after all) just so I can say, well, I didn't vote for him next time he screws us.

Anonymous said...

An apartment is required to have a living room to be a legal class-a dwelling, and a room must have at least 2 means of egress, including a window, to be a legal room. I've never heard a reasonable explanation regarding the legality of converting living rooms into bedrooms and creating windowless "common rooms?" Was there a stretching of the rules?

I believe there was some adjustment to the law as i know the FDNY had to sign off on this and they did.

Anonymous said...

The FDNY signed off on those spaces as "foyers," not as "common rooms." They cannot legally be advertised as either "common rooms" or "living rooms." I'd LOVE To inconvenience CWC as much as possible by advertising these illegalities. Any takers?

Anonymous said...

June 24, 2013 at 3:36 PM.

You've gotta be kidding. Get a grip.

Anonymous said...

You've gotta be kidding. Get a grip

Not kidding at all. I have a grip. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt. Show 1 thing untrue in my original statement.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if somebody at the FDNY had their palm crossed with paper in order to ok these deathtraps? Probably not, but makes me wonder. Somebody had to be bought.

Anonymous said...

June 25, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Nobody "led" anybody to get screwed. The Roberts Decision was a huge victory for tenants that got hijacked during the settlement. The judge, the attorneys for both sides and every class member who signed off on the settlement are responsible for what happened, nobody else.

Fine, you dislike politicians, you dislike the system. I dislike guys who toss baseless accusations on blogs or wherever.

Anonymous said...

The FDNY has a pretty good rep for being uncorruptible.

It would appear that what was signed off on is perfectly legal because of some kind of loophole in the regulation requiring that all "habitable" rooms are provided natural light and ventilation. Having been in my fair share of ST convertible apts, I can say that in every single one of them, the windowless foyer (or whatever they call it) is or was used as a common living room with couch, tv, dining room table and chairs, etc.

Anonymous said...

For everybody still arguing about Roberts and vilifying Dan and the TA etc., I suggest you read Charles Bagli's book. Even if you think you know everything, you don't.

Anonymous said...

Fine, you dislike politicians, you dislike the system. I dislike guys who toss baseless accusations on blogs or wherever.

So, the FACT that the TA and Dan promoted this from day one, went door to door to get people to sign up, held meetings about it, steered people to the attorneys on the case and then went door to door to get people to claim their meager winnings is not "leading" then what is it? Just because your in denial or you are a TA board member or one of Dan Garodnick's staff doesn't change the FACTS and thus makes you and your baseless claim look foolish. As Dean Vernon Werner told Bluto in Animal House.... Fat , Ignorant and Stupid is no way to go through life.

Anonymous said...

I need to correct some facts...it was Dean Vernon Wormer speaking to Flounder and he said...Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

Anonymous said...

No FACTS there my friend, just a lot of opinions and anger being spewed. I'm gonna take Anon at June 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM's advice. You probably should too.

Anonymous said...

No FACTS there my friend, just a lot of opinions and anger being spewed. I'm gonna take Anon at June 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM's advice. You probably should too.

Pure BS. Those are all FACTS. Check the TA website and Garodnick's website and you will see all the things I said occurred actually occurred unlike your denials. I am not swayed by your Saul Alinsky tactic of telling a lie often enough and people will think it's true. That just doesn't work on me.

Anonymous said...

"Saul Alinsky tactics?"

OK, that explains it. Have a nice Tea Party.

Anonymous said...

Not Tea Party by any means, but I see you have nothing real to say just name calling since you got squat. Surprised you didn't go with "I know you are but what am I" or your favorite "I'm rubber you're glue"...routine. Typical LIV loser.