Fighting MCI Rent Increases: Hoylman and Powers Take On DHCR

Fighting MCI Rent Increases: Hoylman and Powers Take On DHCR

Fed up with state agency DHCR not following its own internal rules for handling Major Capital Improvement (MCI) rent increases, TA president Susan Steinberg threw down the gauntlet before the elected representatives at the November 2017 Tenants Association public meeting. In response, State Senator Brad Hoylman and City Councilmember Keith Powers sent DHCR a letter outlining specific instances where the agency has been either inconsistent in applying its rules or ignored them altogether.

Issues include:

  • An MCI item must be depreciable under federal law (brick pointing is not);
  • Statute of limitations is ignored—applications are filed outside of the strict two-year limit;
  • Allocation for commercial tenants is often understated;
  • Applications are incomplete or include documentation for buildings other than those covered by a particular MCI;
  • Unnecessary consultant costs are included;
  • And one of the worst—disregard for DHCR’s own requirement that the agency’s decisions be accompanied by explanations.

DHCR (Division of Housing and Community Renewal) reviews landlords’ requests for Major Capital Improvement rent increases for rent-stabilized housing. Those increases become a permanent part of the legal base rent on which lease renewal increases are figured. All apartments in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are rent-stabilized until June 2020, when many will be removed from rent stabilization.

As of April 2018, the TA continues to challenge multiple MCIs for exterior restoration/facade work, hot water heaters, and Peter Cooper Village intercoms.

Read the letter.