Rent Hike Season: CM Keith Powers Sends Letter to Chair of RGB for Manhattan In-Person Hearing
The city’s Rent Guidelines Board has decided not to hear in person from Manhattan rent-stabilized tenants—that’s all of us—about the outrageous proposed rent increases for leases starting or renewing as of October 1, 2023. Council Member Keith Powers rounded up his Manhattan colleagues and the borough president to request equal treatment with the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.
2 Candidates Endorsed for the TA Board; Other TA Members May Petition
NOTICE TO ALL RESIDENTS
The Board of Directors of the STPCV Tenants Association endorses two candidates for positions on the board as recommended by the Nominating Committee. The election date is May 23, 2023.
Candidates endorsed by the Board include:
Ana Lombardo: A longtime STPCV resident and a Building Leader for the TA, Ana is proud to have been part of the effort to shut down the fossil fuel Combined Heat and Power plants management planned for the property. Most recently, she co-founded ARRFF (Association of Responsible Residents & Furry Friends of STPCV) to try to address the needs and assimilation of the rising number of households that include pets into the STPCV community. Ana is a filmmaker and prop and set dressing foreperson for television and major motion picture studios, including HBO, Showtime, Netflix, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., and Columbia Pictures.
Susan Steinberg (incumbent): Currently president of the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, Susan spent her career as marketing director for major architectural and engineering firms in New York City. Elected to the board of the TA in 1996, she served in several officer’s roles before being elected president in 2015. Susan is a member of Community Board 6, serving on the Housing and Homeless, Business Affairs and Licensing, and Land Use and Waterfront Committees. Other community activities include the East Side Coastal Resiliency Construction Advisory Committee and the Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center Community Advisory Committee. In 2013, Susan received a Woman of Distinction award from New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, and in 2019 and 2022, from New York State Assembly Member Harvey Epstein.
The petitioning period to be a candidate for the board is now beginning for those who did not apply during the interview period. Interested candidates who are current members of the TA may seek a place on the ballot by submitting a petition signed by a minimum of thirty (30) members of the TA who are current in their dues. No more than one candidate’s name may be included on any one petition.
Candidates should be prepared to:
- spend at least 20 hours each month on TA business;
- commit to a monthly board meeting and other phone, remote video, or in-person TA meetings as needed;
- serve on one or more TA committees.
Petitions must include signature, printed name, address, apartment number, and email address or phone number. The Nominating Committee will judge the validity of all petitions. Petitioning ends on April 7, 2023.
Petition forms are available for download on the Tenants Association website. In addition to the petition, candidates must submit a document that includes:
- their name, address (including apartment number), telephone, and email;
- a statement that they are 18 years of age or older; and
- a summary of their qualifications in 100 words or less.
On Saturday, April 8, 2023, TA representatives will be available at the Community Center (449 E 14th St., First Avenue Loop) 2:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. to verify the membership status of petition signers.
Petitions and accompanying documentation should either be—
mailed to Nominating Committee, ST/PCV Tenants Association, P.O. Box 1202, New York, NY 10009-1202, and received at the post office no later than April 7, 2023, OR
sent in PDF form via email to [email protected] no later than 5:00 p.m., April 7, 2023, OR
- dropped in our drop box at Oval Services or at the Community Center (449 East 14th Street, First Avenue Loop), no later than 5:00 p.m., April 7, 2023.
Rent Increases for 2023? The City’s Rent Guidelines Board Starts Its Work
Thursday, 3/30, 9:30 a.m.: Watch on YouTube
The city’s Rent Guidelines Board sets rent adjustments every year for new rent-regulated leases and lease renewals. Tomorrow, Thursday, March 30, at 9:30 a.m., they will meet to discuss their report on owners’ income and expenses. You can watch the meeting live on YouTube.
The I&E report is the first of several that the RGB uses to make its decisions. Last year the RGB voted for the highest increases in almost a decade. Ouch!
The RGB will hold several similar meetings before taking testimony from the public—that’s you and other rent-regulated tenants. A preliminary vote, probably with a range of adjustments, will be taken in early May and the final vote toward the end of June.
Tenants and their advocates are already mobilizing. We can’t afford to get slammed again as we were last year.
What’s new this year:
- The nine-member RGB has a new chair, Nestor Davidson. Will he be fair to tenants in the midst of our housing crisis? The mayor appoints all members of the board—how will he influence the board’s decisions?
- Longtime tenant member and tenant champion Sheila Garcia is leaving the board, and we expect her replacement to be announced soon.
We’ll keep you informed about the RGB’s meetings this year and ways you can get involved. Members of the TA board testify in person to the RGB, but anyone can do so or submit written testimony.
- The RGB’s own research in past years has shown that owners earn 40¢ on the dollar—a healthy profit.
- The Rent Stabilization law, which created the RGB, was enacted not to protect landlord profits, but to protect the public in response to “a serious public emergency...in order to prevent exactions of unjust, unreasonable and oppressive rents...and to forestall profiteering, speculation and other disruptive practices tending to produce threats to public health, safety and general welfare.” (Rent Stabilization Law of 1969 as amended, “Findings and Declaration of Emergency.”)
- The RGB does not have to raise rents. It can freeze them or even roll them back.
More to come as the RGB season progresses.
Update: Blackstone to Appeal Court Ruling on 19 Facade MCIs
Blackstone intends to appeal the court’s decision in our favor on facade work Major Capital Improvement rent increases affecting 26 buildings. The decision annulled the MCI for 14 buildings, and tenants in those buildings who have already been paying the MCI would be entitled to a refund and recalculation of their rent. Until there is a final ruling, those tenants should continue to pay their rent, including the MCI charges. If the annulment for the 14 buildings is upheld, those tenants will then receive a refund, and their rent will be recalculated to remove the MCI from their base rent going back to when it was added.
The two main questions on appeal:
(1) Whether the MCI applications for those 14 buildings were untimely when they were filed, and
(2) Whether the property owner was required to specifically prove, and the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal was required to specifically determine, that the project was depreciable under the Internal Revenue Code when the work—waterproofing and pointing, as necessary—was classified as a major capital improvement in the Schedule of Major Capital Improvements in the Rent Stabilization Code.
The second question applies to the additional 12 buildings. The MCI applications for them have been remanded to DHCR.
2023 TA Board Election—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. Two director positions are to be filled. The election will take place in May 2023.
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 their neighbors and themselves.
Deadline for submission of applications for Director is February 7, 2023.
Requirements for Director
- A resident of Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village
- 18 years of age or older
- Member of the TA current in dues
In addition, candidates should be prepared to:
- spend at least 20 hours each month on TA business
- commit to a monthly board meeting and other phone, remote video, or in-person TA meetings as needed
- serve on one or more TA committees
Candidates must submit documentation to the Nominating Committee by February 7, 2023, consisting of:
- A résumé or biography, maximum of two pages, stating relevant qualifications, including past community activities, professional or work experience
- A brief statement of why you are interested in serving on the Board
- Best contact phone number and email address
Applications should be submitted in PDF format via email to [email protected]. Once a candidate is deemed qualified, an interview will follow. Residents will be notified of the approved slate and informed of an alternate process for running if not on the slate.
Court Rules in Our Favor on 19 Façade MCIs
Based on objections our attorneys, Collins Dobkin & Miller LLP, filed via Article 78s, seven facade Major Capital Improvement rent increases (for 14 buildings) were annulled outright, and 12 were sent back to state agency Homes and Community Renewal (Order and Decision). We prevailed on two key issues—failure of the owner to file applications within HCR's own established deadlines and failure to meet IRS requirements for depreciability. Tenants in affected buildings, below, who have already been paying for the MCI will get back money collected for these MCIs and their rent will be recalculated. The amount of the MCI will be deducted from the legal maximum rent for all apartments in the 14 affected buildings.
The 7 annulled MCIs include:
EU410047RT (2 PCR); EU410048RT (431 East 20th St); FS410011RT (1, 3 Stuyvesant Oval);
FX410022RT (315, 319, 321 Ave. C); GN410045RT (6, 8, 10 Stuyvesant Oval);
GN410046RT (610, 620 East 20th St); GN410057RT (505, 515 East 14th St)
The 12 remanded MCIs include:
EU410046RT (541 East 20th St); EU410054RT (441 East 20th St); FS410034RT (390 First Ave);
FV410011RT (6 PCR); FV410038RT (7 PCR); GM410050RT (8 PCR);
GN410043RT (531 East 20th St); GN410044RT (271 Ave C) GN410047RT (530 East 23rd St);
GR410031RT (5 P PCR); GR410032RT (510 East 23rd St; GS410048RT (511 East 20th St)
JUDGE RULES IN OUR FAVOR—ALL APARTMENTS STAY REGULATED
On January 4, 2023, Justice Robert Reed issued a decision in favor of the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, basically ruling that the 2019 rent laws supersede the regulatory agreement Blackstone signed with the City, which allowed for the deregulation of the J-51 units. The 2019 rent laws cover all apartments at STPCV. In general, it affects original members of the Robert’s class and those paying more than $2,800 are protected by state legislation. Link to Decision
UPDATE: If You Missed Our Dec. 10 Meeting (or Want to Watch It Again), the Video Is on YouTube.
The video of our Dec. 10 meeting (1 hour 22 minutes), can be viewed on YouTube.
In 2023 we’ll have a new representative in Congress and a new state senator. Join us in saying good-bye to Carolyn Maloney and Brad Hoylman, and hello to Jerrold Nadler and Kristen Gonzalez, our new congress member and state senator, respectively.
Rep. Maloney and Senator Hoylman will recap what they have been working on for us. Rep. Nadler will discuss federal issues that affect us, and Senator-elect Gonzalez will tell us how she plans to focus on our community (our new district includes part of Brooklyn and Queens).
Join us Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to noon, on YouTube at https://youtu.be/NulC9mjsfbs
We’re taking questions—you may submit three. Please submit them by Thursday, Dec. 8.
There’s more to hear about!
- Assembly Member Harvey Epstein Rent law loopholes—we need them closed
- Borough President Mark Levine Congestion pricing (we’re in the zone), monkeypox
- Council Member Keith Powers 14th Street, rental background check law
- Community Board 6 Chair Kyle Athayde CB6 is an important resource—how it helps us
Our activities and on our radar:
- We testified in person and in writing to state agency Homes and Community Renewal about new rent regulations—including keeping down your rent increases from major capital improvements
- Stop the Chop—we’re getting involved in this effort to limit increased and excessive helicopter and seaplane traffic, specifically on the East River
- Apartment inspections for lead (Local Law 31)—what to expect
- Our lawsuit to keep all apartments here protected by rent stabilization: we’re still awaiting the judge’s decision
- Pickleball noise: we’ve heard your complaints and brought them to management
Join us Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to noon, on YouTube at https://youtu.be/NulC9mjsfbs
"Mayor Adams, Gov. Hochul Unveil Plan for First-of-Its-Kind Job and Education Hub for Growing Health Sector"
Media release of Oct. 13, 2022, announcing SPARC Kips Bay (Science Park and Research Campus), the plan for the 25th Street Brookdale site, formerly proposed for a sanitation garage.
New TA Board Member Appointed
As sometimes happens, a TA board member finds it necessary to leave the board before their term ends as was the case recently with Steve Mullen. Steve was elected in 2022 and had already plunged into board activities, including working on a tenant survey and staffing the TA’s table at the flea market.
In accordance with the TA's bylaws, which state that vacancies in the board may be filled by a vote of majority of the board then in office, the board appointed attorney Jonathan D’Errico to Steve’s seat. Jon has already been volunteering as a Building Leader and as a non-board member on the TA’s Legal Committee. Jon also serves on Community Board 6 and founded Better Tomorrow NYC, a nonprofit organization to benefit diverse and at-risk youth in NYC public schools. He and his family live in Peter Cooper Village.