The big and only pro that I see is that retroactive MCI charges have been dropped. This can save individual tenants up to thousands of dollars. The question remains just how these retroactive charges would have been actualized. Certainly not in a lump sum, so their addition onto a rent bill may have been minimal, though long-lasting. Do note that if the MCIs were successfully challenged, in part or in full, the retroactive charges would have been lessened according to which MCIs failed to pass. If all the MCIs had met successful challenge, retroactive charges would have been non-existent. So if we won on the MCIs, no retroactive charges. The lawyers for the TA decided not to challenge the MCIs.
I don’t see any other advantage in the agreement. Yes, we have a 5% decrease in MCI costs (that disappears with the tenants following us), but that is a pittance that will be hard to notice on your monthly rent bill and is really insulting to mention as much of a “win” for tenants. You probably wouldn’t be able to afford a Café Latte at Oval Café for the amount you will save.
Affordable housing took another hit with this agreement. The MCIs are not under challenge anymore and are permanently attached to the rent of every apartment.
These were the five MCI charges under review: video intercoms, security system, video command center, water tanks/valves, and repaving of the walkways. Two were for PCV, three for Stuy Town.
It irks me, and perhaps you, that the video command center and security system has gotten an MCI, as neither has been shown to be effective in stopping crime as it happens. Furthermore the video command center we are paying for is no more, replaced by a new one (another future MCI?) and has been used for purposes like gazing at Stuy Town’s bikini babes during the summer and spying on residents--including STR himself, I may add. Residents also have complained about the quality of the video intercoms. My own is erratic, sometimes refusing to open the entrance door. (Worse, there’s word that the company that made these intercoms is no more, making these intercoms obsolete in the long run.)
The most egregious MCI, however, is for the repaving of the walkways. It has been proven through the years, with many photos, that this repaving was shoddy work and that the complex has been in need of "repaving the repaving" for a long while now. I remember that when Al Doyle was president of the TA, he stated that any such MCI was going to be challenged because the facts of poor workmanship were abundantly apparent with all the significant cracks that began to appear not long after the repavement project. Photos were taken by the TA and also by this blog. Expect another MCI in the future to replace the aftereffects of the repavement MCI was are now paying for.
A loathsome part of the agreement is this threat by CWCapital, with the TA as signatory, that is introduced as “VERY IMPORTANT”:
“The agreement requires the Tenants Association to use good faith efforts to prevent the filing of individual Petitions For Administrative Review (PARs), which directly or indirectly challenge the settlement. Such PAR could result in the agreement being nullified in the sole discretion of the owner. Nullification would result in forced repayment of the retroactive charges and any waived portion of the permanent charges by all tenants who benefited from the agreement. The possibility of nullification by the owner due to an ill-advised PAR is a very serious concern to the Tenants Association.”
I despise this kind of strong-armed tactic that CW has used before. BUT, because of the possibility of retroactive MCI charges of thousands of dollars per tenant being placed back on track, and because no tenant I know is in a financial place to retain superior legal counsel, I’m expecting this threat to be accepted by the community and with gritted teeth by some of us.
So that’s it. Could these MCIs have been successful challenged? I don’t know. It seems that the TA was in a very good position here, because CW wants to sell this place and such legal challenges would have put such a potential sale in a time limbo for a while. I’m assuming the TA lawyers felt that this agreement was the best deal that could have been acquired for residents.