L Train Letter

City Council Member Keith Powers initiated a letter regarding the noise and quality of life issues resulting from the L train construction. Other elected officials signed on to the letter. Read it here.


Jolt the Vote

The federal primary in June sprang some surprises, and the primaries at the state and local level in September are ripe for more, particularly on the Democratic side.

So—are you registered to vote at your current address? Although you can register any time during the year, your form must be delivered or mailed at least 25 days before an election for it to be effective for that election. Even if you don’t enroll in a party, you’ll still want to vote in the general election in November. It’s a big one for us: one U.S. Senator, member of Congress, governor, lieutenant governor, state attorney general, judges, and more.

ELECTIONS COMING UP
Thursday, Sept. 13: State and local primaries—on a Thursday
Tuesday, Nov. 6: General election

Note: To vote in a primary election you must (1) be registered to vote at your current address and (2) be enrolled in the official political party recognized by the NY State Board of Elections that is holding a primary.

REGISTER BY MAIL

  • Download the Voter Registration Form (available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Bengali).
  • Voter Registration Forms with prepaid postage are also available at the Board of Elections, libraries, post offices, most New York City government agencies, and the League of Women Voters of the City of New York. To have a registration form mailed to you, call the Board of Elections at 866-VOTE-NYC (866-868-3692).
  • Fill out a Voter Registration Application using a pen with only blue or black ink. Be sure to sign the form.
  • Mail the Voter Registration Form to: Board of Elections, 32 Broadway, 7th floor, New York, NY 10004.

REGISTER IN PERSON
Register in person at any of the Board of Elections offices in the five boroughs.
Manhattan: 200 Varick Street (near W. Houston St.), 10th floor, 212-886-2100, Monday–Friday,  9 a.m.–5 p.m.

REGISTER ONLINE
If you have a New York State driver’s license or DMV-issued nondriver’s ID card, go to https://dmv.ny.gov/more-info/electronic-voter-registration-application.

REGISTRATION DATES
State and local primaries
Aug. 18 Last day to postmark a mail application. Aug. 22 Last day it must be received by Board of Elections.
Aug. 19 Last day an in-person application must be received by the Board of Elections.

General election
Oct. 12 Last day to postmark a mail application. Oct. 17 Last day it must be received by the Board of Elections.
Oct. 12 Last day an in-person application must be received by the Board of Elections. If you have been honorably discharged from the military or have become a naturalized citizen since Oct. 13, you may register in person at the Board of Elections until October 27.

To register to vote in the City of New York, you must:

  1. be a citizen of the United States (includes persons born in Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and naturalized citizens).
  2. be a New York City resident for at least 30 days by the time of election.
  3. be 18 years old by December 31 of the year the registration is filed (note: you must be 18 years old by the date of the general, primary, or other election in which you want to vote).
  4. not be serving a prison sentence or be on parole for a felony conviction.
  5. not be adjudged mentally incompetent by a court.
  6. not claim the right to vote elsewhere (outside the City of New York).

The “Help America Vote Act” (HAVA) of 2002 requires all first-time voters who register by mail to provide additional identification either on or with the voter registration application, for example, the voter’s driver’s license number or the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number. If you do not have a driver’s license or Social Security number, you may use a valid photo ID, a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or some other government document that shows your name and address.


2018 TA Board of Directors Election Notice

The Annual Meeting for the election of Directors of the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, Inc., will be held on Thursday, May 31, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. at MSBI’s Podell Auditorium, 10 Nathan D. Perlman Place (one block west of First Avenue, between 15th and 16th Streets). At that time, members will vote to fill seats on the TA Board of Directors. All members who are current in their dues as of May 22, 2018, the record date set for the meeting, are entitled to vote.

Please note that this meeting is for record purposes only; there will be no program.

Since the election is uncontested this year, in an effort to minimize expenses, no proxies or ballots will be distributed. The election will be conducted at the Annual Meeting.

The Board of Directors, on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, has endorsed five persons to be elected to the board.

Other TA members interested in being elected to the Board were provided the opportunity to be nominated by submitting a petition signed by 30 current members of the Tenants Association no later than March 31, 2018. Because no such petitions were submitted, only the persons endorsed by the Board have been nominated.

The persons endorsed by the Board:

Anne Greenberg is a lifelong resident of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. With a varied career in book publishing, she has used her communications skills for the TA and has also been involved in maintenance and quality-of-life issues in the community. Anne also represents the TA to Real Rent Reform (R3), a coalition of tenant associations and advocacy groups that fight for tenant-friendly legislation, and she has testified before the city’s Rent Guidelines Board. After serving as a volunteer for several years, Anne joined the Board in 2014.

Lynn Janovsky is a born-and-bred East Villager who has lived in Stuyvesant Town since 1996 (moving in the week after the blizzard of ’96) and has no plans to leave. A marketing communications strategist, Lynn looks forward to bringing her professional skills to the STPCV TA Board and the community, and engaging all our amazing residents in making sure ST and PCV continue to evolve as a dynamic place we all want to live.

Michael Lang has lived with Debra Lang, his wife, in Peter Cooper Village since 2016, having relocated here from Chicago. A retired Assistant United States Attorney from Illinois and Michigan, he was also a county prosecutor in Detroit. While living in Chicago, he acted as a Cook County Arbitrator and volunteered at a Catholic Charities food bank. In addition, Michael served for three years on the condo board of his residence in Chicago, where he dealt with significant legal and political issues.

Jeanette Sheehan is a Delivery Director for Sirius Computer Solutions, a technology consulting firm, where she manages all aspects of system delivery from inception to go-live and ongoing maintenance for top-tier clients. Jeanette moved to the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village community in 2011 and has been a building leader since 2013. She is excited to get involved with activities to make sure STPCV continues to be a place where residents can thrive. Jeanette has also volunteered at the New York ASPCA and at MoMA for over ten years.

John J. Sheehy has served on the Board for the past eight years. Among other things, he played an important role in formulating a condominium conversion plan when the property was for sale, facilitated the Roberts settlement, and was key to bringing Blackstone to the property. John was a senior partner, Chair of the Litigation Department, and Member of the Executive Committee of the international law firm Rogers & Wells. He served on the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct for twelve years and is a retired Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve. John was Chair of the Board of NYC Court Appointed Special Advocates (“CASA”) for six years.


The Fight for Rent Justice—Tenants Association Goes to Albany

On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, members of the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association joined other members of the Real Rent Reform (R3) coalition on a bus trip to Albany to meet with state senators, both Republicans and Democrats.

The goal: Get the senators to commit to supporting three bills to strengthen rent regulations.

R3 represents rent-regulated tenants around the state. The coalition seeks:

  1. the repeal of vacancy decontrol, responsible for the loss of 250,000 rent-regulated units over the past decade;
  2. the repeal of the vacancy bonus, which gives landlords a 20% increase each time an apartment turns over; and
  3. to close the loophole on preferential rents—a discount from the legal rent that can be taken away at lease renewal, leading to a sudden increase of hundreds of dollars. Many of our neighbors in STPCV are all too familiar with this last one.

What did we ask for? The ask for Democratic senators was to sign onto the three bills if they have not yet done so. Republican senators were asked to allow the bills, stalled in the Housing Committee, out of committee and onto the floor for a vote.

Where does our state senator stand? Our state senator, Brad Hoylman, is a cosponsor of all three bills. He joined us at a rally in the capitol’s Million-Dollar Staircase (see photo). Also joining us was Harvey Epstein, Democratic candidate for State Assembly for our district.

THESE BILLS MUST BE PASSED AT THE STATE LEVEL. The NYS Assembly has passed two of these bills and will pass the third easily. The NYS Senate, however, has yet to act. R3 is pressuring for the passage of these bills before the expiration of rent regulations in 2019, but they can be voted on anytime the legislature is in session.

20180417_114740RallyBrad.jpg


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.


TA President Testifies at City Council

At a hearing of the City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings on 3/19/18 for renewal of the city’s rent laws, TA president Susan Steinberg gave this testimony:

Speaker Johnson, Housing Committee Chair Cornegy, members of the Housing Committee, thank you for supporting the renewal of city rent laws and the strengthening of state and city rent laws by closing loopholes. I am Susan Steinberg, President of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, and we support Resolution 188-A and Intro 600-A.

STPCV contains approximately 11,230 units and 28,000 residents. In 1947, it was built as a community for people of moderate means. In 1980, my one-bedroom cost $250 per month. In 2018, despite rent regulations, a one-bedroom starts at $3,156. Figuring 30% of one’s income for rent, one must earn $126,240 to afford that one-bedroom. That’s not moderate. New York City’s average annual salary is $68,883. Our cost of living is 129% higher than national average.

So how did a rent-regulated community get from moderate to market? Through vacancy deregulation, through weakening of rent laws every time they come up for renewal in Albany, and through loopholes—vacancy bonuses, preferential rents, and lots of major capital improvements that we pay for in perpetuity—loopholes that are bleeding our community, the city, and the state of regulated renters.

To afford the rent in Stuytown today, tenants double or triple up and leave at renewal as rents rise. Two thousand units turn over every year, providing a big opportunity for a 20% vacancy bonus. That, plus multiple MCIs we pay for till death push rents to exceed the $2,700/month deregulation benchmark.

To ease the turnover burden and sting of market rates, management offers preferential rents. Forty percent of our renters are preferential. The difference between the preferential and legal rents can be hundreds or thousands of dollars. Most renters don’t understand that the landlord is allowed to raise the rent all the way up to the legal rent on renewal. The Tenants Association gets the calls from tenants suffering from sticker shock when their monthly rent increases by, say, $500.

Renters are at a disadvantage. Owners don’t worry every three years about whether they will have a roof over their heads. Resolution 188-A and Intro 600-A must be passed and rent laws strengthened to ensure that housing for hundreds of thousands of tenants is a right, not a luxury.

Thank you, Council Members, for the opportunity to testify.


TA Board of Directors Election Announcement

The Annual Meeting of the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, Inc., will be held on May 31, 2018 (time and place to come). At that time, members will vote to fill vacant seats on the TA Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors, on the recommendation of the Nominating Committee, has endorsed the following persons to be elected to vacant seats:

Anne Greenberg
Lynn Janovsky
Michael Lang
Jeanette Sheehan
John Sheehy

Other TA members interested in being elected to the Board may seek a position on the ballot by submitting a petition signed by a minimum of thirty (30) members of the TA current in their dues when they sign the petition. No more than one candidate’s name may be included on any one petition. Petitions must include the printed name, signature, address, and apartment number of each member signing the petition. Petition forms may be downloaded here.

In addition, each candidate must submit a statement indicating the following: (1) the candidate’s name, address (including apartment number), telephone number, and email address; (2) a statement that the candidate is 18 years of age or older; and (3) a summary of the candidate’s qualifications (no more than 100 words). The Nominating Committee will judge the validity of all petitions.

Petitions and other materials in PDF form should be emailed to nominations2018@stpcvta.org by March 31, 2018.

Candidates should retain their original petitions in the event they need to be examined.

Nominating Committee: Kevin J. Farrelly, Patricia Levenson, Steven Newmark, Patricia Sallin, Susan Steinberg


Local Events: L Train, Rent Freeze, Bike Lanes & More

Wednesday, January 31, 5–­8 p.m.
L Train Shutdown Informational Meeting
344 East 14th Street (14th Street Y)
The MTA and DOT are hosting informational meetings for the public to learn and ask questions about plans for the 15-month shutdown of the L train beginning in April 2019. Click here to view the flyer with times and locations.

If you can’t attend this meeting, there will be one on Wednesday, February 14, 5–8 p.m., at Our Lady of Guadalupe, 328 West 14th Street.

Monday, February 5, 7 p.m.
Transportation Committee Meeting (Community Board 6)
433 First Avenue, room 220 (NYU School of Dentistry)
Agenda items:
2. A proposal by the Dept. of Transportation to install crosstown protected bicycle lanes on East 26th and 29th Streets.
3. Presentation by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and NYC Dept. of Transportation on the plans for the coming L train Canarsie Tunnel shutdown.

Wednesday, February 14, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.
SCRIE/DRIE Rent Freeze Workshop
Community Center, First Avenue Loop
RSVP (212) 633-8051

You may be eligible for a rent freeze if:

What you should bring to apply:

  •      Proof of your date of birth (driver’s license or birth certificate or passport or government ID).
  •      Proof of income for yourself and all household members for 2017, including W-2 forms, 1099 forms, pension or SSI/SSDI statements, etc.
  •      Your prior and current lease, signed by both you and your landlord.
  •      Any notices of Major Capital Improvement charges you have received in the past two years.

Co-sponsored by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Brad Hoylman, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and Council Member Keith Powers

Tuesday, February 20, 6–7 p.m.
Managing the Legal and Financial Issues of Cancer
Perlmutter Cancer Center, 160 East 34th Street, 11th floor, room 1121.
This lecture is meant to increase survivors’ understanding of their financial and legal challenges and of their rights in dealing with them. All NYU Cancer Center lecture events are free, but registration is required. For more information, consult NYU Langone’s website.

Tuesday, February 20, 6:30 p.m.
13th Precinct Community Council
230 East 21st Street (between Second and Third Avenues)
The Community Council provides a forum for community members to work with local police officers to address safety and quality of life issues that affect us all.


NOTICE TO ALL RESIDENTS

The Nominating Committee of the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association (the “TA”) is soliciting candidates for election to the TA’s Board of Directors. The election will take place in May 2018.

This is an excellent opportunity for the community-minded to participate in a meaningful leadership role and help make decisions that have a positive impact on your neighbors and yourself!

Deadline for submission of applications for Director is January 21, 2018.

Requirements for Director:

  • A resident of Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village;
  • 18 years of age or older; and
  • Member of the TA.

In addition, candidates should be prepared to commit to a monthly board meeting, and other phone or in-person TA meetings as needed, as well as provide general guidance to the Board throughout the term.

Application Requirements:

To be considered, interested TA Members must submit to the Nominating Committee by January 21, 2018, a résumé or biography—maximum of two pages—stating your qualifications to serve as a director, including past community activities, relevant professional or work experience, and why you are interested in serving on the Board. Include your best contact phone number and email address. Applications should be submitted via email to nominations2018@stpcvta.org.

 

The 2018 ST/PCV TA Nominating Committee:
Kevin Farrelly, Patricia Levenson, Steven Newmark, Patricia Sallin, Susan Steinberg


Got Heat?

Now that it’s officially winter, some tenants are complaining that their apartments are not getting enough heat. If legal temperatures (see graphic below) are not maintained:

  • Call management to report the problem. The city asks you to try to resolve the problem with management first—it is your responsibility to notify the landlord. The city advises you to keep a record of all contact with the landlord.
  • StuyTown Property Services has said it will provide an indoor thermometer on request, or you can buy one on your own. Keep a chart of exact dates, times, and temperature readings wherever your apartment feels cold. This is your evidence.
  • Call 311 to report the landlord’s violation (you must provide contact information). Call repeatedly. An inspector should eventually come, although you may not be alerted in advance. You can also file a complaint online at http://www1.nyc.gov/311/.
  • Get other neighbors without sufficient heat in your building to call 311. Everyone should call repeatedly, at least once every day the condition is not corrected.
  • Call the state’s Tenant Protection Unit at (718) 739-6400, and ask them to send you their Heat and Hot Water Complaint form. Get as many other apartments as possible in your building to sign on, demanding an order to restore heat and a reduction and freeze in all the rents.

How does HPD respond to heat complaints? According to its website:

If a tenant files a 311 complaint related to heat, HPD attempts to notify the building owner or managing agent and may also attempt to contact the tenant to see whether service has been restored. If service has not been restored, an HPD inspector will go to the building to verify the complaint and issue the appropriate violation.

If an owner fails to restore heat after receiving a violation, HPD’s Emergency Repair Program (ERP) may contract with private companies to restore essential services and bill the owner for the cost of the repairs, plus related fees. More...

Finally, tenants can file for a rent reduction based on lack of heat (see DHCR Fact Sheet #15, Heat and Hot Water, http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/FactSheets/orafac15.pdf). The form may be obtained at http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/Rent/HHW1.pdf. This is where your record keeping will be necessary—you will be required to attach a report from the agency to which you have complained (311).

Heat-season2017.jpg