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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

UPDATE on INTERCOM MCI


ST Video Intercom MCI Update: DHCR's Order Contains Reversible Error

The Tenants Association is challenging the enforceability of the DHCR Notice that increases monthly rents by $12 to $15 a month for the video intercom installation.  The orders were received by residents of a number of Stuy Town buildings the week of October 7th.  According to the TA's attorney, Tim Collins, DHCR has made what is called a "reversible error," a legal term indicating that the ruling is incorrect and requires further action by the agency.

None of the orders acknowledges or gives consideration to Mr. Collins' general and specific objections to the application, which were served on the DHCR on May 14, 2012.  

Our attorney has advised that this type of error is not unheard of and DHCR should promptly rescind the orders and correct its error by considering our objections and giving notice to the owner's attorney.  We will file "Requests for Reconsideration" due to "irregularity in a vital matter" as well as Petitions for Administrative Review in the next few weeks.  

As a consequence, there is no need for tenants to file separate individual PARs at this time.  However they should retain any document received regarding this (or any other) MCI.  We will provide further updates as our efforts to stop the Video Intercom rent hike continues.  

Inasmuch as CW's own counsel was copied with the timely 2012 submission of our objections, the Tenants Association asks that they recognize DHCR's error and refrain from implementing the Rent Increase Order in the December 2013 rent bills."

The Tenants Association will continue to scrutinize every MCI Application for accuracy and fairness.  If you have not done so already, please send us your docket number for this Rent Increase Order by completing the form here.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Has the TA ever successfully
challenged an MCI? Have charged ever been removed retroactively?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

There have been challenges, but I'm not certain of their outcome. I vaguely remember a victory, but it was a challenge before it needed to be retroactively removed.

Anonymous said...

I think they won some concession when i came to the windows. Turned out that they were crap and imploded, so the argon gas had to be removed, rendering them non-soundproof or insulating. We still had to pay for the bastards, but just not as much as MetLife wanted to rip us off for. I'll never forget when those windows were replaced and we had parolees (part of some program) be-bopping through our apartments and the union people demonstrating outside. Lot of thefts from some of those window installers. MetLife didn't always do the decent thing by their tenants. I think the TA also won some concessions regarding the re-wiring project (we suffered - and I mean SUFFERED - for years without air conditioning and some people actually died as a result of it) before MetLife brought us into the 20th Century and had the ST rewired (PCV always could use air conditioners). Again, I believe the TA won some victory when MetLife struck a dirty deal with RCN and made us have the RCN wiring pulled into our apartments, whether we wanted it or not. Turned out there was some under-the-table deal between MetLife and RCN and I think it was Steve Sanders who took it up with MetLife. It was the TA who did all the drudge work though. I've been here 35 years and I have to say that while this current bunch of assholes and TS before them are the bottom of the barrel, MetLife wasn't always all that benign as a landlord. They did, however, know what they were doing and had a wonderful staff and workforce that could run rings around this incompetent bunch of losers! I'm not referring to the rank and file maintenance guys and gals, but the various levels of "management."

Anonymous said...

I think it was inevitable that they had to replace the old intercom system, given that so many of us don't use land lines anymore. I wouldn't mind paying a small charge for the new system IF the bloody thing worked! Mine works some times, but not others. As for the emergency warning feature: that has NEVER worked!

Anonymous said...

The DHCR was a sham during the Pataki years when a lot of MCIs sailed through. For example (I think I've got this pretty much down, someone please correct me if i get details wrong). The TA had Met Life dead to rights on a double dipping scam that had some cable company (RCN?) piggybacking their rewiring of buildings on the ac rewiring/windows work -- the TA actually had it down in writing. That should have negated either the whole ball of wax or part, but it was completely disregarded. We even lost in court. Hence the new law firm which, BTW, has an outstanding reputation throughout the city.

We did get a partial MCI windows rollback after they started exploding. Even the DHCR couldn't ignore that.

Anonymous said...

Now that everyone is enraged about this latest MCI to hack its way through the bureaucratic jungle--and remember that many more are still tangled in it--we should be thinking about how to undo this rapacious part of the state's rent laws when they come up for renewal in 2015.

Think about it: The law says that an MCI becomes part of the rent permanently. That means that it becomes part of the base rent on which increases are figured. Another outrage: The MCI must apply to an improvement or installation that can be depreciated. The cherry on top: If you move out before making all the retroactive payments, the landlord can hit you for the remaining amount.

It's triple Christmas every day for landlords--tenants pay forever for an MCI, the increase beefs up the base rent on which lease increases are figured, and--wait for it--all the while the landlord is getting a tax benefit for the depreciation.

Anonymous said...

No problem if you don't have a landline (as friends of mine did NOT but could still use the old system). An old-school phone was wired up in the front of the house or via the front-most closet and the intercom-dedicated phone lived there. My friend used his cell as his only phone way (1990s) back when. He never had a problem with this arrangement. With the "new & improved system," though, he can't hear the people buzzing up nor can they hear him buzz them up for the first three (inaudible) clicks. These things blow! After the initial "testing" message that destroyed the receiving function in both complexes their capacity to be used as a message and communication system proved worthless, too. Yeah, these things are real technological marvels! Another thing the old-school system had in its favor was the ability to buzz someone in from any location in your home. My pal, wisely, had a mobile handset wired into that front closet so if he was in the back he'd just take the handset with him, to wait for his pizza wherever it most suited him. Problem being that if you aren't right near the damn things, you can't hear them at all. Old system made more sense and was worth its weight (and simplicity) in gold.

Anonymous said...

Isn't the landlord required by law to provide intercom service? Why should any change from the original system be considered an MCI?

Anonymous said...

ITS AN OUTRAGE THEY CHARGE US FOR THESE INTERCOMS BECAUSE THEY NEVER WORK. MY INTERCOM STARTEDTO MAKE AN EAR PIERCING BEEPING NOISE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND U COUODNT GET IT TO STOP. IT WAS A HORROR SO I SMASHED IT OFF THE WALL AND TGREW IT DOWN THE GARBAGE CHUTE BUH BYE THEN THEY HAD THE NERVE TO CHARGE ME FOR A REPKACEMENT I SAID OVER MY DEAD BODY WHICH WILL BE SOON SINCE I AM NOW ON A BREATHING APRATIS BECAUSE OF THE MOLD SMELL COMING FROM MY NEIGHBORS APARTMENT. I ONLY HOPE MY DAUGHTER GES TO MY BODY FIRST AND NOT THE PIT BULLS THAT ROAM MY HALLWAYS IN SARCH FOR BLOOD.

Anonymous said...

wonder how they will deal with tenants who have moved since this MCI went into limbo, and then resurfaced?

Anonymous said...

PCV was hit with an MCI notice today. DHCR approved an increase for the TV/security system and the video command center, which, as we know, doesn't exist anymore as it was in 2009.

Anonymous said...

I live in pcv and just received notice for mic for the key card system and security cameras. Has anyone else seen this.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has questions about MCIs can go to the state website that has the DHCR fact sheets to read about MCIs, PARs, etc. You'll see that what seems absurd and outrageous is actually legal. http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources/dhcrfact.html

Anonymous said...

An MCI for the key cards and useless cameras? They can shove that one!

Anonymous said...

"PCV was hit with an MCI notice today. DHCR approved an increase for the TV/security system and the video command center, which, as we know, doesn't exist anymore as it was in 2009."

Check the TA FB page, this has been noted by the TA, Stuy Town will be hit as well.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether or not there is a time frame in which CW has to dispose of the property or even if they have to at all?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know whether or not there is a time frame in which CW has to dispose of the property or even if they have to at all?

I have been trying to get an answer to this question for a while, but can't seem to get a definitive one. The mortgage is due in 2016, but my understanding is that CW Capital can simply re-finance at that time. If the mortgage holders get sick of paying CW Capital $7,000,000+ a year in mortgage fees, they can tell them to sell. Short of that, I don't know what it would take to get them out of here. Personally, I think that they hope to buy this place. Keep in mind, they lost something like $90,000,000 when Tishman screwed up here. I think that sticks in their craw and they want to re-coop it in some way. Let's be honest, in effect, they already are the owners. Beyond sad the havoc they have wreaked and continue to wreak here every day.

Anonymous said...

10:31 AM

I'd guess the answer to that's in the agreement CWCap signed that they're not gonna show anybody.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone know whether or not there is a time frame in which CW has to dispose of the property or even if they have to at all?"

Somehow, somewhere, there must be an accurate answer to this question...no?

Anonymous said...

CW is selling the property in 2014. So what? Who says that the next owner is going to be any better?

Anonymous said...

"CW is selling the property in 2014. So what? Who says that the next owner is going to be any better?"

Unfortunately, that doesn't answer the question of whether or not CW is mandated to sell. I would also add that CW selling in 2014 is purely conjecture on your part (Fitch not withstanding).

Anonymous said...

"CW is selling the property in 2014. So what? Who says that the next owner is going to be any better?"

It will be if it's us!

Anonymous said...

It won't be us. It'll be another BS management company. Accept reality.

Anonymous said...

"It won't be us. It'll be another BS management company. Accept reality."

You may very well be correct, but I too can't help but ponder the unknowable: whether or not there is date whereby CW must relinquish control of this property.