Comment Policy

All comments to posts have to await approval. Approval does not happen immediately. NOTE: Comments reflect the opinions of the person writing them and should not be assumed to reflect the opinion of the blog.

Management has two priorities: 1) Making sure money is made, hence upgrading and filling up apartments is their goal. "Amenities" are important in selling the place, though few residents use them. 2) If someone needs medical attention, Public Safety will be there, if alerted.

Quality of life issues are not that important, however. They tend to be ignored, despite "the rules." So you will see a lot that isn't taken care of properly, and complaints will be met with a creative excuse and a smile.

"Peace and quiet" must be a cruel joke, though this property is sold that way. There can be no peace and quiet as ALL apartments must be upgraded, which includes the installation of an AC unit below the window. Aside from the continual construction about the neighborhood, there is a new and noisy subway extension being built along East 14 st and the shut down of the L line. "Choosing" to live in NYC, now the newest mantra, is a fabrication when the talk is of ST and PCV, which was traditionally quiet, with no construction noise.

Though money was always important, it is now more important than ever. Money rules many things, as you will find.

At this point, 30 years into living here and seeing many things, I can state that Management and their reps are BS-ing us. I can't say that loudly enough: We are being BS-ed. I don't see any genuine change. Sorry.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Okay, seriously, where is that audio tape?



Come on, TA, let's hear that audio tape that was made of the Town Hall meeting on November 2. Tenants have a right to listen to it. Then the May 10th meeting will have more validity and the questions can be more pertinent and knowledgeable.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where is the Audio of the November TA Town Hall Meeting?


In advance of the TA meeting on Saturday, May 10, 2014 (1:00 PM, in Intermediate School 104, East 20th Street between First and Second Avenues) to discuss the recent MCI settlement, it would be good to have the audio available of the November 2nd Town Hall meeting in which TA counsel Tim Collins and others spoke about the MCIs that were going to be put into effect and the Request for Reconsideration that was going to be made to the DHCR. The availability of such an audio was promised at the meeting and also in a summary of the meeting made on the TA website:

http://www.stpcvta.org/ta/post/next-steps-for-mci-rent-increase-orders-and-summary-of-11-2-meeting

It's Not Just This Blog... Residents Voice Displeasure at the Passage of Recent MCIs

This week's TOWN & VILLAGE highlighted tenant displeasure at the MCIs that are now affirmed forever as part of an apartment's permanent rent when the TA decided to withdraw its "opposition to, and request for reconsideration of the Prior Orders" its in negotiations with CWCapital.

Editor/reporter Sabina Mollot interviewed residents about the MCI settlement:

“It seems very unfair,” said Katie Bernard, who’s lived in Stuy Town for 10 years. She was especially annoyed that MCIs were charged for the video intercom system, which she said was unnecessary. “I can’t tell you how little it works. I miss the old system. I don’t need a screen.”

Another resident also said she didn’t understand the need for the security upgrades that qualified for MCIs. “It didn’t make my life any safer,” said Carol Szamtowicz. “These capital improvements, I’m sorry I have to pay for them.” As for the settlement, she thought it was good that the Tenants Association fought the increases, “but,” she added, “five percent isn’t very much.”

Meanwhile, another resident, Bob Novick, said he was glad to hear the retroactive portion of the increases had been eliminated. “They did get the retroactive off and that is significant,” said Novick. However, he too said he didn’t get why the intercom system needed replacing on the tenants’ dime. “We got new intercoms 8-10 years ago,” he recalled, adding that he thought the new ones were “essentially the same. The new ones are more sophisticated, but I’m wondering what the purpose was other than to increase the rents.”
 

And Bill Oddo, a longtime resident, said he wasn’t impressed with the settlement at all. “I don’t see where the success is when we’re only getting 5 percent off on all those items,” he said. “I have to pay $15 a month for video cameras and they don’t do anything. The security cameras don’t make us safe. They only help after the fact. You can’t possibly monitor 1,200 cameras 24/7.” Besides, he added, “For 65 years, this has been one of the safest communities in the city. It’s safer than St. Patrick’s Cathedral.” Oddo added that together he’ll be paying over $50 a month in MCIs, for improvements he thought his existing base rent should cover. “I can’t figure out why tenants have to pay for them,” he said. 

More here.

New Amenity Space: Oval Dumpling


Sometimes a couple of us tenants meet at the Oval and discuss who may wind up buying this place. The Chinese are always mentioned, though I wonder how seriously. Wouldn't it be funny if it came true? If so, the TA may want to elect Lo Rhent as its new president.

http://news.yahoo.com/chinese-manhattan-replace-russians-top-apartment-buyers-113332662--sector.html

NEW YORK/SYDNEY (Reuters) - For the first time, the Chinese have become the biggest foreign buyers of apartments in Manhattan, real estate brokers estimate, taking the mantle from the Russians - whose activity has dropped off since the unrest in Ukraine and the imposition of sanctions against Russia by the United States.

Wealthy Chinese are pouring money into real estate in New York and some other major cities around the world, including London and Sydney, as they seek safe havens for their cash and also establish a base for their children to get an education in the West.

....

Broker Shawn Elliott ferries around groups of Chinese buyers in Rolls Royce and Mercedes-Benz luxury sprinters every week, often catering to entire families at a time.

"They're looking for trophy properties," said Elliott. "They're looking for their children to be comfortable, and to be near Columbia or New York University."

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Before and After: What was Hoped For in the MCI Matter...and, now, a Response from the TA Attorney


Below are pertinent extracts of reports from the sources linked. Full text at the links. Subject headers are mine.


AT THE TENANT TOWN HALL MEETING IN NOVEMBER, 2013, THE TA'S LAWYER, TIM COLLINS, WAS CONFIDENT ABOUT THE MCIs BEING RESCINDED


Collins also spoke about the offer to say he was confident that the MCIs would be rescinded if appealed due to the fact that his arguments on behalf of the TA on why they shouldn’t be implemented, which were made last year, weren’t even acknowledged in the responses. Previously, he referred to this as a “reversible” error....

He added that complaints include the TA’s belief that since some of the work benefits ST/PCV’s commercial tenants, they too should share in the cost and that in some buildings, there were “class C” violations found, which would make the owner ineligible for an MCI. There was also the issue that some apartments were being used for student housing. Another argument, specifically against the resurfacing MCI was due to the quality of the work.

“We have 40 to 50 pictures showing what a mess it was,” Collins said. “The workmanship was horrendous. So we were really surprised when these things (MCI notices) started pouring out.”

....Only half jokingly, when Collins took the podium, he slammed down a pile of paperwork that was about six inches thick. Collins then told the audience that if he wasn’t confident about getting results from the HCR, he wouldn’t have shown up at the meeting. “I would not have canceled my proctologist appointment,” he said.


OBJECTIONS TO SECURITY SYSTEM AND COMMAND CENTER


Some objections from the TA’s counsel:

The Tenants Association said it has a few general objections to the MCI, which include claims that:

• The system replaced a full electronic security management system installed in Peter Cooper Village only in 2004. Before a system is replaced, it must have exceeded its useful life.
• Critical documentation, such as government permits, and plans and specifications were not submitted, but should have been. There were different contract amounts cited. Change orders lacked proper verifiable information. Some change orders were for repair and restoration not eligible for MCI rent increases.
• The security command center was a new facility installed at 518 East 20th Street. This security center was relocated to 317 Avenue C as part of an overall rental plan for retail spaces on the property. This work did not qualify for MCI treatment, even before Sandy destroyed the command center.


CWCAPITAL OFFERED TENANTS A 35% REDUCTION IN RETROACTIVE MCI PAYMENTS IF TENANTS AGREED NOT TO CHALLENGE THE MCIs


In the past month, tenants have received notices that MCIs (major capital improvements) for security upgrades done in 2009 as well as work done that year on doors, resurfacing and water tanks and valves, had been approved. The Tenants Association has since said it would challenge those MCIs, while CWCapital has made an offer to reduce the MCIs’ retroactive portions by 35 percent if tenants agree not to partake in any challenge.


IN NOVEMBER, 2014, TA PRESIDENT JOHN MARSH WAS CONCERNED ABOUT PERMAMENT MCI RENT INCREASES AND NOT JUST RETROACTIVE PAYMENTS


Marsh, meanwhile, in a written statement, blasted the offer as “an attempt to legitimize an unenforceable scheme” to get tenants to waive their right to challenge MCIs.

“While we appreciate any gesture by management to soften the blow of these increases, it is not enough for them to look at just the retroactive amount,” he added. “We are also concerned with the permanent increase. We will keep all channels of communication open with management while we continue to collect public membership pledges, so we can be in a position of even greater strength moving forward.”


 PDFs OF INTEREST:

TA LAWYER TIM COLLINS RESPONDS TO CWCAPITAL'S OFFER  OF 35% REDUCTION OF RETROACTIVE MCI CHARGES AND THEIR STRONG-ARMED TACTICS:


 TA'S "AGENDA" PDF ON NOVEMBER TOWN HALL MEETING:


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

STR here.  Some facts:

1) The TA's counsel did not challenge the MCIs and removed its request to a reconsideration of Prior Orders (the approved MCI increases) that were issued by the DHCR (Division of Housing and Community Renewal).

2) CWCapital's offer to tenants of a 35% decrease in retroactive MCI payments, and their threat against tenants challenging the MCIs, vanished with the wind. Tenants will now receive a complete removal of retroactive payments.

3) The DHCR signed off in the new "Order and Determination" that it "did not review all of the submissions or objections raised by the Tenants Association prior to rendering the Prior Orders." No blame is placed on this important lapse or an explanation given for it.

Some opinions:

It seems that the TA had CWCapital by the short hairs. Because CWCapital wants to put up STPCV for sale this year or next, it did not want to go into a lengthy legal process where the MCIs and retroactive charges could have been challenged in the courts, potentially holding up the sale. Otherwise, CWCapital would never have offered a complete elimination of retroactive MCI charges. These retroactive charges were also a powerful bargaining tool for CW. By offering to eliminate them, the company was able to present a significant prize to the TA, while still retaining a permanent MCI rent increase, which is of primary interest to any future buyer/landlord of this property.

[Another possible pressure on CWCapital  to come to an agreement that hasn't been mentioned anywhere is the rumor that there may be a city-wide rent freeze coming from the De Blasio administration. Would such an occurrence also freeze MCI increases, if not actualized swiftly before a rent freeze went into effect?]

The question is did the TA "blink"? Was the TA's case solid enough (as claimed by Tim Collins at the November 2013 Town Hall meeting) that the MCIs would have been rescinded, thereby also causing all the retroactive payments to disappear?

The DHCR's lack of reviewing all of the submissions and objections presented by the TA on the initial review of the MCIs is troubling. What the hell is going on there?

Troubling is also the fact that Tishman-Speyer in 2009 was responsible for 20% of all MCI applications in the city. These guys had no shame in sprucing up the property for self-serving reasons and throwing out rent-stabilized tenants and having tenants pay for the shafting. The current MCI agreement, while saving tenants any retroactive fees, continues this shafting.

And guess what? There are more MCIs on the way.

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

UPDATE: 4/21/14

THE TA ATTORNEY RESPONDS TO THE ABOVE POST

http://www.stpcvta.org/ta/post/ta-attorney-sets-the-record-straight

Tim Collins, TA’s attorney, responded to “Before and After: What Was Hoped For in the MCI Matter” (April 20, 2014), a post that appeared on the blog The Stuyvesant Town Report. STR’s summary contains misinformation and appears to discredit the MCI Settlement and the negotiations. Mr. Collins’s response, which was shared with STR the same day, addresses every point made in the STR post and is shown below: 

Statement by Tim Collins, the Tenants Association’s Attorney

My statement at the November TA meeting that DHCR’s initial orders were issued in error (because our submissions had not been considered) was correct. I never suggested that this would result in a complete elimination of the MCI’s — only a reopening of the proceedings. Ultimately DHCR did admit its error and agreed to reconsider its orders and our submissions. Although not in form, in substance DHCR rescinded the prior orders by modifying their impact in significant ways. The retroactive increases were totally eliminated and a portion of the permanent increase was reduced by 5% to 100% depending on the class of tenants affected.

What needs to be understood is that some of the objections we initially submitted to the DHCR were already recognized by DHCR in its first set of orders. In those orders DHCR had already reduced the permanent MCI increases applied for by 23%. The additional reduction in the permanent increase we achieved at the bargaining table resulted in an effective 28% overall reduction in the permanent increases applied for (and a 100% reduction for some tenants who pay high rents).

DHCR did not formally consider all of our objections after it agreed to reconsideration for the simple reason that we entered negotiations which preempted such a review. At the bargaining table we used our objections as leverage to achieve a global resolution which, on balance, was thought to be superior to the cost and uncertainty of maintaining over 300 proceedings, and the inevitable administrative and court appeals that would follow.

No one can ever tell for sure what would have happened if we had abandoned negotiations and allowed the administrative (and ultimately judicial) challenges to proceed. We do know that the bulk of MCI increases applied for by CW Capital were legally appropriate and properly documented. We also know the DHCR almost invariably grants owners opportunities to correct defects in workmanship. In the long run it is quite likely the CW Capital would have prevailed on most of its claims. That may have occurred years from now at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. In the interim, tenants would have continued to pay the full permanent increases.

The negotiations themselves covered a complex array of legal and practical issues — with three major negotiating sessions taking place over a three-month period, including dozens of phone conferences. The TA’s negotiating team was vigorously involved every step of the way. The TA’s legal committee — composed of several exceptional and accomplished attorneys — reviewed and commented on all proposed changes and the TA Board carefully reviewed the deal before accepting it.

We went into the negotiations armed with a sound understanding of the law and past DHCR practices. We recognized several weaknesses and vulnerabilities in CW’s MCI applications. And we knew that DHCR had already addressed many of those problems. As noted, we had the extraordinary backing and involvement of the TA leadership. But the most important asset we had at the bargaining table was a strong TA. As the MCI and service issues arose over the past year the ranks of TA members who signed public member pledges swelled to nearly 4,000. That was, far and away, our most powerful weapon in obtaining a beneficial settlement.

Going forward, strong leadership and widespread tenant support remain the most valuable assets for every member of the ST/PCV community. And there are many challenges yet to come.

I will be in attendance at the May 10th TA meeting to answer more questions about the settlement. If anyone feels disappointed or critical of the agreement, I ask that they withhold judgment until these issues can be fully aired at the meeting. On many levels this agreement was a significant achievement for the TA and I was honored to participate in it.

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

STR here.  So, my post that links to supposedly factual reportage "contains misinformation and appears to discredit the MCI Settlement and the negotiations"?  Perhaps the blame should be placed on the Town & Village newspaper, which did this reportage and offered up quotes from the participants in the matter.  I myself was at the Town Hall meeting and can verify, as best as one's memory can, the statements made there. If this factual reportage (and I believe it is factual) discredits the MCI Settlement and the negotiations in the opinion of Tim Collins and his firm, and I assume the TA, then what does that say about the settlement??? If the reportage is not factual, did counsel or the TA write to Town & Village to make them aware of the inaccuracy?

I also do not believe that I have been critical of the settlement, unlike some of the commentators in the comment section. I come around again and again to the same point: that residents should wait to see their new rent bill to weigh the results of settlement. And I frequently mention that counsel considered this the best deal it could achieve and do not imply sinister motives on their part in making such a deal for tenants.

So it's surprising that, suddenly, a post that reviews statements made before the settlement was achieved has created enough upset to warrant such a response from counsel and, by connection, the TA.

I'm all for transparency, however, so I do welcome this response and any statements that may be made about the settlement in the future.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Pros and Cons for Tenants in the MCI Agreement

There’s a possibility this post will be revised somewhat if I receive clarification on certain points. Otherwise, here it goes….

Pros

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.

Cons

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.

Comments welcome.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MCI Agreement Reached

http://www.stpcvta.org/ta/post/stuyvesant-town-peter-cooper-cw-capital-settle-millions-mcis

ST/PCV Tenants Association and CWCapital Negotiate Settlement of MCI Orders, Saving Tenants Money

The Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association and CWCapital reached an agreement that settles the dispute over the five Major Capital Improvements (“MCIs”) applied for by former owner Tishman Speyer in 2009. Today, DHCR issued an Order confirming the agreement. This settlement will significantly reduce the impact of the recently approved MCIs for tenants. Specifically, it eliminates 100% of retroactive charges for current tenants and reduces each tenant’s payable monthly increase. Specific details of the agreement are summarized below. The settlement marks the second time that the terms of a Stuyvesant Town or Peter Cooper Village MCI have been modified through negotiated settlement.

“The Tenants Association appreciates having been able to negotiate these issues amicably with CWCapital,” said TA Chair Susan Steinberg. “Residents have been saved a great deal of money in retroactive costs, which have been completely eliminated, and some relief in the MCI rent additions. Notably, the negotiations saved months of time and lots of money in legal filings and responses. The best news is that the outcome is at least as favorable to tenants as any we could have won the harder way.”

“We are very pleased to have worked with the Tenants Association to reach a settlement,” said Andrew MacArthur, Managing Director of CWCapital Asset Management. “We have worked closely with the TA to reach an agreement that mitigates the impact of the increases for our residents and brings finality to this dispute.”

The five MCI Orders cover: video intercoms, security system, video command center, water tanks/valves, and repaving of the walkways. Two of the Orders impact residents in Peter Cooper Village and three of them impact Stuyvesant Town residents. This agreement eliminates lengthy and expensive administrative and legal challenges and brings tenants financial relief and finality to the proceedings

As with the recent successful Tenants Association/CWCapital settlement relating to service reductions, DHCR hosted and assisted in the negotiations between the ST/PCV-TA and CW.   Both sides are thankful for DHCR’s assistance in achieving a settlement.

While all residents benefit from this agreement, specific benefits are individually calculated.   Below is a summary of the agreement that will help individual residents estimate their benefit.   These terms represent a general summary of the agreement and are not inclusive of every detail included in the agreement.   We have tried to be accurate in providing this summary, however if there are any inconsistencies between this summary and the agreement, the terms of the agreement prevail.  Residents should read the agreement in its entirety (which DHCR will mail together with the Reconsideration Orders) to understand its full impact and should consult the TA to address specific questions.

General Terms:
●      All current residents are included in this settlement except those who moved in after the Orders were issued (approximately October 2013).
●      The Settlement is retroactive to January 1, 2014.
●      Credits noted below will begin to appear on the May rent bill.
●      In May, a retroactive credit will be added to the rent bill. This credit will include the benefit amount for January, February, March, and April.
●      The retroactive and permanent increase amounts noted below are all clearly stated in the MCI Orders that residents received in the mail. This number is different for all residents and depends on many factors including: building, unit size and move-in date.
●      If a resident cannot find his/her Order, that resident is advised to call DHCR at 1-800-ASK-DHCR (1-800-275-3427) to request a duplicate copy.
Benefits for Non-Roberts Tenants Paying Full Legal Rent:
●      100% of retroactive charge is waived.
●      5% of the permanent MCI will be credited for the duration of each resident’s tenancy.
●      This group includes tenants who are paying full legal rent other than the Electrical Upgrade MCI under the Opt-In/Opt-Out program previously approved by DHCR.

Benefits for Non-Roberts Tenants Paying Less Than Full Legal Rent:
●      100% of retroactive charge is waived.
●      100% of the permanent MCI will be credited for the duration of each resident’s tenancy.
Benefits for SCRIE/DRIE Residents:
●      SCRIE/DRIE residents will not be responsible for either the retroactive increase or the permanent increase.
●      PCVST management has already filed the appropriate paperwork with the NYC Department of Finance (“DOF”).
●      DOF is in process of processing all of the required adjustments.
●      The MCI increases may appear on rent bills until DOF completes its work. At that time, PCVST will make all appropriate adjustments to ensure that SCRIE/DRIE residents are not charged.

Benefits for Roberts Residents:
●      100% of retroactive charge is waived.
●      5% of the permanent MCI will be credited for Roberts residents paying the full Legal Rent.
●      50% of the permanent MCI will be credited for Roberts residents paying either the maximum Modified Legal Rent or the maximum Roberts Preferential Rent. These two terms are defined in the Roberts Settlement.
●      100% of the permanent MCI will be credited for Roberts tenants paying less than the Modified Legal Rent or Roberts Preferential Rent noted above.
●      All of these credits will continue for the duration of each resident’s tenancy.
●      A hotline has been set up for Roberts tenants to find out which category applies. This hotline will continue to operate for 30 days. Roberts residents should call (212) 420-4940.

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.

There are two types of "ministerial errors" which may be corrected by filing a PAR that will not jeopardize the agreement:

1. The MCI order you receive has an inaccurate room count. An inflated room count may result in unwarranted additional charges. Such problems are rare, however, and usually concern misunderstandings about what is considered a room. Note that what constitutes a "room" has a specific definition which can be found in DHCR Policy Statement 93-2 located online at www.nyshcr.org/Rent/PolicyStatements/orap932.pdf.
2. Tenants may be exempted permanently or for a limited time from the MCI charges if they:
a) moved in after DHCR served notice of the pending MCI applications (served in 2008 and 2009); and
b) never received notice of the pending MCI application in their initial lease or a lease rider, or do not have a clause in their lease allowing such increases on renewal; and
c) are not covered by the settlement in Roberts etal. v. Tishman Speyer.

Note that even if you are exempt from the charges because of a lack of notice in your initial lease, charges may be added on renewal if your lease contains appropriate language allowing the addition of MCIs to your rent. You may have an MCI Rider or a Rent Increase and Eligibility Rider attached to your lease — or a similar rider — which clarifies this. Your lease may simply state something like "The rent established in this lease may be increased or decreased by an order of the DHCR or the Rent Guidelines Board." According to DHCR policy, that is sufficient to allow the owner to add the MCI increase mid-lease after the first renewal.

Management has set up a hotline to resolve such problems at (212) 614-5805. If you checked the DHCR definition of rooms and believe there is an error in your room count; or, if you meet the criteria described in 2 above and have checked your lease and find no notice of pending MCI increases, you should PROMPTLY call the management hotline to resolve those issues.

If you are unable to obtain a resolution through management, please notify us as soon as possible, either by calling the TA message center at (866) 290-9036 or by emailing the TA using the Contact Form at stpcvta.org.  We will provide the information and forms you need to file individual PARs to ensure you are protected against unwarranted MCI increases.

Remember that PARs must be filed within 35 days of the date on the DHCR order.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

This is it: THE FUTURE OF STUYVESANT TOWN & PETER COOPER VILLAGE



Read this carefully if you want to know what the future holds for us. Note the amazing similarities between our complex and Parkmerced in San Francisco. This blog has already predicted such a change, as recently as yesterday in the comments section. On occasion, I've been privately contacted by someone in Parkmerced who has followed the events in PCVST and has noted the similarities to Parkmerced, too.

Given the outrageous value of the expansive land here at PCVST, given the gluttony of greedy real estate and their influence over local politicians, this WILL HAPPEN. Parkmerced is the template now. The only thing that will stop this is a severe economic downturn, which some are predicting is a possibility. Otherwise....

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

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Parkmerced-transformation-wins-approval-2370555.php#ixzz1NNmO8fDr

By Will Kane, Chronicle Staff Writer

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave the go-ahead Tuesday to a $1.2 billion plan to transform the sprawling Parkmerced area from a car-centric neighborhood to a state-of-the-art sustainable neighborhood. In a 6-5 split, the board voted to replace 1,500 rent-controlled town homes with 7,200 new energy-efficient units over the next 20 to 30 years.

When the project, which currently houses about 8,000 residents, is completed in 2040, an additional 14,000 people will be living in the 152-acre neighborhood, originally built in the 1940s as a suburban outpost in San Francisco. Units where rents are currently controlled will stay that way, but new ones will be rented or sold at market rate. The rebuilt Parkmerced will have a maximum of 3,200 rent-controlled units, the same number it has today.

The new neighborhood will have a school, easy access to transit, and stores within walking distance of homes designed to save water and power, a dramatic change from the expansive lawns and wide streets now found in Parkmerced. All existing garden apartments will be demolished, while the 11 landmark towers will remain.

The vote followed loose ideological lines, with progressive Supervisors David Campos, John Avalos, Ross Mirkarimi and Eric Mar opposing the project. Supervisor Jane Kim also voted against the plan, which, following standard procedure, will be up for what's expected to be routine final approval in two weeks.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, whose district includes the Parkmerced complex, said the proposal by developer Stellar Management would improve San Francisco.

"Today is a big day for the city of San Francisco and for the region," he said before the vote. "This is a regional project."

Some residents and tenant groups vociferously opposed the project, arguing that it is a modern-day land grab by a developer hoping to evict tenants and eliminate rent control at the complex.

They promised to fight the board's approval of the project in court or at the ballot box, using the city's voter-initiative process to overturn the board's decision.

"I think it is wrong to demolish 1,538 people's homes," said Mitchell Omerberg, a tenant activist. "Every time we've done that in this city, we've regretted it."

Some supervisors worried that the development agreement, which outlines rent-control guarantees and the details of the project, isn't strong enough to protect renters, despite assurances from the city that it is.

"There are times when going as far as possible is simply not enough, because the law is in such a state that there is still a degree of uncertainty," Campos said.

Hoping to make the agreement stronger, Supervisor David Chiu introduced 14 pages of amendments Tuesday morning that, among other things, give tenants the right to sue if the developer reneges on promises and guaranteed money if rent control is eliminated.

PJ Johnston, spokesman for the developer, said supervisors had no reason to think the developers will not keep their promises.

"We're very heartened by the wisdom and courage of the supervisors who voted for the project," he said in a statement. "We're also mindful of the legitimate concerns of those who voted against it. We intend to live up to the best intentions of all 11 supervisors and to continue to earn the trust of our residents."

But Parkmerced residents at the hearing said they have no faith that the developer or the city has their best interests at heart.

"I think this is a travesty," said Michael Russom, a Parkmerced resident. "There's no guarantee that we're protected."

Early in the meeting, Cathy Lentz, a resident of Parkmerced, had to be dragged out of the board chambers by sheriff's deputies after she began yelling at supervisors.

As three deputies held her outside of the meeting room, her eyes filled with tears.

"I've lived there 50 years," she wailed. "What are they doing?"

Lentz, 60, was escorted out of the building and not arrested, said Eileen Hirst, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

Elsbernd said that while he appreciated the concerns of Parkmerced residents, they weren't considering what would happen if the project was not approved and the 1940s-era development continued to slip into disrepair.

"We talk about what the risk is to the tenants if the project moves forward," he said. "What about the risks to the tenants if the project does not?"

Rents could increase to fund maintenance and residents could be evicted so chunks of the land could be turned into student housing for neighboring San Francisco State University, he said. While the current proposal requires some upheaval, it is better than doing nothing, he said.

Craig Hartman, an architect with Skidmore, Owings and Merrill who designed the new Parkmerced neighborhood, said many other cities would model their new developments after Parkmerced.

"What I really hope for is a neighborhood that will be really, truly of San Francisco," he said. "It is an example of what can be done to make new, intelligent forms of human settlement."

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

STR here:  Yes, I've noted "residents could be evicted so chunks of the land could be turned into student housing for neighboring San Francisco State University."  Just replace SFSU with NYU. Voila!

Find out more about Parkmerced, and see more similarities (Met Life built the place, too) at the Wikipedia entry for that complex:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parkmerced,_San_Francisco

And read what this blog said over a year ago about the future of this complex:

http://stuytownreport.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-future-of-stuy-town-and-peter.html

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Preview of "We Live in the Projects" -- The Falling Apart Tour

Today was a nice day to take a tour of parts of Stuy Town....  And some of the parts are falling apart.

(Click on photos to make them larger.)






Friday, April 11, 2014

PCVST: 5,000 Additional Tenants!

Someone over at the management office let out the numbers. In a recruitment search for a "Tenant Liaison" position, PCVST management wrote that the complex now houses "a residential population estimated at 30,000."  While the exact numbers have always been vague, the Wikipedia page on Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village approximates "over 25,000" residents, which is the number I'm familiar with. Yes, 30,000 is over that amount, but in approximations one would expect a possibility of, at most, a thousand or so more, but not five thousand, otherwise the notation would mention 30,000 and not 25,000. Even more bizarre, Realtor.com gives the number of residents at 20,630!

Whatever the exact numbers, it comes as no surprise to anyone living here that we've seen a population growth, with, chiefly, students who tend to occupy apartments with three or more bodies to an apartment. Such a population growth strains the resources of PCVST where maintenance can never catch up, and everyone's quality of life is lessened. It should be noted that it's illegal for there to be more than three unrelated tenants living in a single apartment.

More BS from "Team PCVST"

What do you do if you're management when services decline in PCVST?  You push residents to sign up for Oval Amenities to take care of their needs!

As posted on the TA Facebook page, United Parcel Service will not be leaving packages in certain buildings based on the amount of thefts that have been occurring in these buildings. Now, one would think that the high-tech, award-winning security system we have, with thousands of HD cameras all over the complex and inside, and for which we are paying a MCI, could help to solve these thefts, but no, that's not going to happen. So the solution? Have your packages delivered to Oval Concierge!  (Don't even ask: Of course, there is a charge.)

Almost immediately following this news came other news, this time on the STPC Tenants' Facebook, that Oval Cafe will be temporarily closing to reopen with an expanded menu and... new seating.  Yes, that means the cafe's Kids Korner will be gone. Now, you Stuy Town moms may be upset about this (I don't know why because "Team PCVST"  says they got feedback from you and others on how to make Oval Cafe better), but the solution is obvious: Hasten yourselves and your little ones over to Oval Kids! (Don't even ask: Of course, there is a charge.)

Regarding Oval Cafe, it's obvious that the place is not making money: The seating is usually taken over by students, who just sit there with one cup of coffee and do their hours of studying, and moms with their children, who use the place as a chill-out center. It's not that, as "Team PCVST" states, feedback was solicited of the "community" on how to make Oval Cafe better, but that, to survive financially, the cafe has to make room for more bodies and a higher turn-over rate. (I wouldn't be surprised to see a time-limit in place eventually for studying at the cafe unless more items are bought.)  Oval Cafe also has to push high-priced items and, yes, the sale of alcohol, which I'm sure is still being planned. Make way, kids, for the booze!

Preview of Forthcoming Post -- "We Live in the Projects"

Photos taken today, by the 20th St Loop, in preparation for a major post on PCVST and its kinship to "the projects." I didn't even have to search for what's below. I pass it by almost daily. Click on photos to make them bigger.

Below, on the right, you will see a wavy and damaged railing, with a pathetic attempt to fix it. On the left, the railing is completely missing, and there's poor cement work in the foreground--I guess another attempt at a "fix."


Below: The steps walkway on that side. The concrete at the corner is severely chipped, with missing chunks. Do note the dog crap on the bottom left corner, and, if you can spot it, two turds by the first post. There were more dog turds and smears on the way up.


If you saw something like this when walking through the projects on the Lower East Side, you'd think slum.

Such disrepair is seen day after day and becomes the new "new."  Soon we ignore it and don't realize how much has really changed.