A survey conducted over the past three months by the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association reveals that key upkeep and maintenance issues are of continuing concern in many of the community’s buildings. Conducted by TA volunteers, the latest assessment follows up on earlier tenant-led reviews of maintenance and quality-of-life issues, including a report that the TA presented in February 2011 to property manager Rose Associates in meetings between TA representatives and Rose personnel.
The current questionnaire focuses on the cleanliness and condition of all common areas, tenant safety issues related to building security and fire doors, the effectiveness of intercoms for admitting and communicating with visitors, and management responsiveness to reported maintenance problems.
Completed surveys, submitted for 51 percent of all buildings in the community, most often assign average grades to how well commonly shared halls, stairways, elevators, storage spaces, lobbies, and entrances are maintained and cleaned. Findings show a significant drop in grades for the functionality of apartment-to-lobby intercoms. Over 60 percent of the Peter Cooper buildings surveyed and more than 40 percent of those in Stuyvesant Town experience some problems, including outages, with intercom use.
Laundry rooms and recycling areas, frequent subjects of tenant complaints for several years, continue to receive the worst ratings. Only 21 percent of respondents are satisfied with clothing cleanliness after using machines in building laundry rooms. Laundry room users most often find one or two washers or dryers out of order. Nearly all respondents cite dirty laundry room floors, unclean machine surfaces, and debris left inside washers and dryers as the norm.
Though 91 percent of respondents note that recycling rooms are kept clean between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., when maintenance staff are working, the same number report that conditions deteriorate dramatically after 6 p.m., especially on weekends. An overwhelming majority indicate that vermin have been seen in recycling rooms, where discarded items, frequently containing food debris, overflow an insufficient number of recycling bins. According to 89 percent of respondents, some tenants leave bags of recyclable items in areas outside recycling rooms, while others bring their food garbage to the recycling room instead of bundling and disposing it via the compactor chutes on each floor.
In one-on-one questioning, many residents attribute at least part of the recycling room problem to continuing cutbacks in maintenance staff, especially on weekends, when porters have been assigned an additional building to attend to. Several respondents suggested that many incoming students and revolving members of multi-tenant apartments are unaware of the availability of compactors on each floor. They suggest that the use of recycling areas for food and garbage disposal might easily be lessened by a notice about compactors circulated to all residents and by the rental office’s speaking about compactors to new residents.
The Tenants Association plans to use the survey results for further discussions with Rose Associates. “This survey provides a solid basis for productive talks with Rose,” said Al Doyle, Tenants Associates president. “Most of our previous talks have relied on anecdotal reports. This survey provides solid evidence of the need for improvement in upkeep and maintenance.”