MCIs (Major Capital Improvements)

1) How to Represent Your Building in Challenging an MCI Application Before the DHCR Rent Administrator

Background:

In order for the Tenants Association's counsel to represent you in a building-wide MCI application, at least one tenant in the building must sign an authorization form. The form is short and can be downloaded below. The form designates our attorney, Collins, Dobkin and Miller, to challenge the MCI for the entire building.

What to do:

Download and sign the form to protect your rights and allow the TA to challenge the MCI on your behalf using the collective resources of the Association.

How to do it:

  1. You may either Download and print the form and complete it by hand or open the form in Adobe Acrobat Reader and use the form tool to complete the four necessary fields: Date, Building Address, Apt., and Printed Name. (Leave the Docket Number blank; we will fill this in for you.) Then save, print and sign the form.
  2. Make two (2) copies of the form, one for us, one for your records.
  3. Return the form to us by any of the following means:
  • Give it to your Building Leader or Zone Leader, or
  • Deliver it the TA drop box at Oval Services at 17A Stuyvesant Oval (First Avenue Loop) or the TA drop box in the Community Center (First Avenue Loop), or
  • Mail it to ST/PCV-TA, Att: MCI Rep, PO Box 1202, New York, NY 10009-1202

 

2) I received a "Notice to Tenant of MCI Rent Increase Application." What do I do?

Background:

The Notice to Tenant of MCI Rent Increase Application (form RA-79-N) is the first step in the life of an MCI Application. This notice is sent to tenants by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). It alerts the tenant that the owner has applied for a new MCI. It allows the tenant to comment on the MCI and that comment is added to the review process by the DHCR Rent Administrator, who ultimately rules on the validity of the MCI. It also provides for requesting an extension to comment of up to 60 days.

DO NOT DISCARD THE NOTICE. INSTEAD, FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

What to do:

Share the information with the Tenants Association and also request a 60-day extension to respond to the notice, which will give the TA time to analyze the MCI application and develop a plan of action.

How to do it:

For those WITH access to the Internet:

  1. On the Tenant Response form provided as part of the Notice (usually the last page), WRITE: I request a 60-day extension. SIGN IT and write the date you are mailing it.
  2. MAIL the Tenant Response form to: State of New York, Div. of Housing & Community Renewal, MCI Unit, 92-31 Union Hall St., Jamaica, NY 11433.
  3. OPEN our brief "New MCI Application Docket Tracker" form and fill it out. This is a vital step so please don't skip it. (Note: We use Google Forms for this step. Your browser will redirect to the Google Form.)

Keep your paperwork. You will need it again in a month or two when you file the Response to the MCI Rent Increase Application. Don't worry about that now. The TA will provide full instructions for filing when the time comes.

For those WITHOUT computers and access to the Internet:

  1. On the Tenant Response form provided as part of the Notice (usually the last page), WRITE: I request a 60-day extension. SIGN IT and write the date you are mailing it.
  2. Make one (1) copy of the Notice and three (3) copies your completed Tenant Response form, keeping one copy of the Notice and the completed Tenant Response form for your records.
  3. MAIL the completed Tenant Response form to: State of New York, Div. of Housing & Community Renewal, MCI Unit, 92-31 Union Hall St., Jamaica, NY 11433.
  4. SEND ONE (1) COPY of both the Notice and your completed Tenant Response form to the TA by either postal mail, drop box, or by faxing it to us:

Postal mail: MCI Project, ST/PCV-TA, P.O. Box 1202, New York, NY 10009-1202.

Drop box locations:

Oval Services, 17A Stuyvesant Oval (First Avenue Loop)

Community Center (First Avenue Loop)

Zeichner's Wines & Liquors, 279 First Avenue (near corner of 16th St.)

Fax: (866) 290-9036.

Keep your paperwork. You will need to refer to these forms again in a month or two when you file a Response to the MCI Rent Increase Application. Don't worry about that now. The TA will provide full instructions for filing when the time comes.

 

3) How to Handle a Lost or Misplaced "Notice of Application by Owner for MCI Increase"

Background:

The Notice of Application by Owner for MCI Increase (form RA-79) is the first step in the life of a MCI Application. This notice is sent to tenants by DHCR, alerting the tenant that a new MCI has been applied for by the owner. It allows the tenant to comment on the MCI, and that comment is added to the review process by the DHCR Rent Administrator, who ultimately rules on the validity of the MCI. It also provides for requesting an extension to comment of up to 60 days.

MCIs are building-centric. So the figures and the docket numbers on this form are always the same for a given building. The only thing that varies is the tenant's name and apartment number.

It is not uncommon for a tenant to discard this notice. Below are two ways a tenant can still comment on the MCI or request an extension to comment.

What to Do:

If a tenant has discarded the form or misplaced it, he/she can contact a neighbor within their own building for a copy, then white out the neighbor's name and apartment, hand writing in their own.

In lieu of that, if the docket number and mail date are known or can be obtained from a neighbor in the building, the tenant can write a business letter to DHCR at MCI Unit, 92-31 Union Hall St., Jamaica, NY 11433, referencing the docket number and requesting a 60-day extension to respond.

 

4) I Received an "Order Granting MCI Rent Increase" from DHCR, what do I do?

Background:

The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) Rent Administrator is the first arbiter in the Major Capital Improvement (MCI) Application for a Rent Increase process. The Rent Administrator may approve or disapprove an MCI application in whole or in part. When the decision is unfavorable to the Tenant, the news is delivered in the form of an Order Granting MCI Rent Increase. Tenants can appeal the Rent Administrator's decision to the DHCR Commissioner by petitioning for administrative review. This is known as filing a PAR.

[Editor's Note: Almost every MCI application affecting ST/PCV has been approved in whole, with few approved in part, by the DHCR Rent Administrator. The current Administrator has served since and during the Pataki administration. To date, DHCR has never rejected in its entirety an ST/PCV owner–submitted MCI application. However, that doesn't mean we give up. Relief is more likely in the PAR stage.]

How Rent Increases Are Calculated and Collected:

The increase is added to your base rent with the following formula:

The total cost of the improvement is divided by 1/84 and then divided by the total number of rooms in the building and allocated to each apartment based on room count. A one-bedroom apartment has three rooms, a two-bedroom has four, a three-bedroom has five, etc. Your rent is increased by the number of rooms in your apartment. After the owner has collected the total cost of the increase, the charge remains in your base rent in perpetuity.

Prospective and Retroactive Charges

The collectibility of an MCI Rent Increase Order begins from the date the MCI Application was accepted by DHCR. Because the Rent Administrator's Order can be made sometime later, in the case of an increase, a retroactive balance can have accumulated since the application's acceptance date. The prospective amount is collected first, put in the base rent on the Order date. However, those tenants who file a PAR are shielded from collection of the retroactive portion of the increase until the PAR has been adjudicated by DHCR.

During this time the Owner might carry the amount of the retroactive portion as a Balance Forward line on your rent statement. However, the owner may not enforce collection of this amount so long as the tenant has filed a PAR. This practice may actually help the tenant's accounting once the PAR is ruled on.

Tenants who fail to file a PAR WILL have to pay the retroactive charge.

What to do:

1. Do not discard the Order

Every communication from DHCR is a legal step in the Administrative Review process. Copies of these forms are required to exercise your right to challenge the MCI application and Order.

You have the right to file a Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) to challenge the Order within 35 days of the Order Date. The Tenants Association will give guidance to tenants on how to file their own PARs in the form of instructions and a List of Objections to attach. A PAR filed by the tenant carries the most standing before the agency, and stays the retroactive balance from collection. A tenant may also delegate a representative (such as a Tenants Association Building Leader or an attorney) to file a PAR on their behalf. (For more on filing a PAR, see DHCR fact sheet #18, Appealing a Rent Administrator's Order: Petition for Administrative Review. All DHCR fact sheets are at http://www.nyshcr.org/rent/factsheets/.)

2. Inform the Tenants Association

Make three copies of the Order and send one to the Tenants Association at ST/PCV-TA, ST - PAR Copy, P.O. Box 1202, New York, NY 10009-1202. Alternatively, you may also fax the TA copy to (866) 290-9036 or you may drop a copy off at any of the the TA’s drop boxes located on First Ave at Zeichner's Liquors, at Oval Services, or at the Community Center.

3. Check the website or with your TA Building Leader or Floor Volunteer for updates.

The Tenants Association will gather the dockets and respond to tenants with guidance.

 

5) How to File a Petition for Administrative Review (PAR)

You have only 35 days from the Issue Date to file a Petition for Administrative Review challenging an Order by DHCR (Division of Housing and Community Renewal) granting a Major Capital Improvement rent increase.

Please examine the Order you received from DHCR to learn how quickly you must complete and mail your own response. The Issue Date appears in the upper right hand corner of the Order immediately below the Docket Number.

The Tenants Association will form and distribute a List of Objections. Check the ST/PCV-TA website, call our message center, or check with your Building Leader or Floor Volunteer for this information. The TA will make these available as soon as possible.

COMPLETING THE PAR FORM (Form RAR-2)

Start by having in front of you the Order Granting the MCI Rent Increase, which you received from DHCR; you will need it to complete your filing. You have to fill in only the following:

Section A-1,2,3 Case Docket No., Issue Date, and Issuing Office (This is Gertz Plaza). The docket number is in the upper right hand corner of the Rent Increase Order. (It has 2 letters, 6 numbers, then 2 more letters).

Section B-4 Enter your building address and apartment number, check the box "Building-Wide."

Section C-5 Print your name, daytime telephone number, and full address (repeating information already given in B-4).

Section C-6 Here you will delegate your representative. This is usually the name of the Tenants Association attorney. It could also be the name of your Building Leader. We will provide you with instructions for this section along with the List of Objections.

Section D-9 If you have other complaints about the improvement, mention them here. Be brief so they’ll be read.

Section E Complete the AFFIRMATION (printed or typed name, signature, and date). You do not have to complete the Verification.

HOW TO FILE YOUR PAR

Attach a copy of the Order Granting the MCI Rent Increase to two copies of the PAR form and the List of Objections we included in your kit. Keep the original Order and a copy of the PAR for your own records. You will mail five (5) items in all (2 copies of the PAR, 2 copies of the Objections, and one copy of the Order). Fold and insert in a standard business-size envelope. Secure the closing with adhesive tape, if necessary. Affix sufficient postage to cover 2 ounces.

MAIL THE 5 ITEMS, POSTMARKED NO LATER THAN 35 DAYS FROM THE ISSUE DATE TO:

DHCR
Office of Rent Administration
Gertz Plaza
92-31 Union Hall Street
Jamaica, NY 11433

NOTE: To make absolutely certain that DHCR can’t claim they didn’t receive your PAR, you may want to mail it at the post office, requesting proof of delivery, or via other carrier that provides proof of delivery. Additional postage is required.

If you can, please also send a single copy of your PAR form (one page) to the Tenants Association, addressed to: ST/PCV-TA, PAR Copy, P.O. Box 1202, New York, NY 10009-1202. Alternatively, you may fax the TA copy to (866) 290-9036 or drop a copy off at any of the the TA’s drop boxes located on First Ave at Zeichner's Liquors, at Oval Services, or at the Community Center.

Note: This copy will be for our use only; we are not offering to file it for you.