On September 10, 2020, your Tenants Association sent a letter to CEO and General Manager Rick Hayduk about the effect of Covid-19 on our community, based on the results of our survey, which gathered 945 responses. We explained why the property owner, Blackstone, should and could do more to keep our neighbors in their homes.
Management’s recent response provided no meaningful improvement, so today we sent another letter to Rick Hayduk with this message from the board of directors:
As you know, the welfare of our tenants is the Tenants Association's priority. The small adjustment you made in the Financial Hardship Assistance Program still does not provide tenants real relief. Therefore, we are responding to the adjusted FHAP and urging you to do more for existing tenants so they can continue to call Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village home.
Please read the attached.
With our community still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, today we sent a letter to CEO and General Manager Rick Hayduk.
As the Tenants Association of Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village, our mission is to represent and support ALL tenants of the complex. Since our inception, approximately 70 years ago, our support has come primarily in the form of fighting for tenants’ rights to affordable housing and advocating to management on behalf of tenants on quality of life issues.
As a tenants association, we want and need to reinforce that we represent and fight for every tenant. The Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will not tolerate any acts of hate or violence directed toward any of our fellow tenants. We expect all community members to feel welcome and comfortable in their STPCV homes.
As obvious as that sounds, unfortunately original owner MetLife’s history of discriminatory renting policies at Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village has put our community behind the times in being truly inclusive. In 1952, thanks to the Town and Village Tenants Committee to End Discrimination in Stuyvesant Town—the precursor to the current Tenants Association—the discriminatory renting policies of MetLife were “officially” overturned. However, MetLife’s rental exclusion persisted for several more decades. As a result, we are not nearly as diverse a community as we should be. It is an unfortunate part of the complex’s history.
While we can’t change the past, we CAN change the present and future of the 80 acres of greenery we are all lucky to call home. To that end, the TA is opening a broader dialogue on what it means to be a resident of color in STPCV and the particular challenges that may come with it. Recent posts and comments on the TA Facebook page have given us a starting point and uncovered some enlightening, and sometimes disturbing, insights. We are committed to listening, learning, and changing, and have already begun talking to tenants of color about how we can grow as a truly inclusive organization and community. The TA looks forward to evolving our efforts, activities, and programs to make Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village the truly inclusive and welcoming community we know it can be.
If you would like to contribute to these discussions, please contact us, through our Peter Stuyvesant Facebook Messenger account, via email at stpcvta.org/contact_us, or call us at 1-866-290-9036.
And finally, just to reiterate, we reject racism and hate in this unique community, and the TA will do everything in our power to fight it when we see it.
Your Tenants Association
NOTICE TO ALL RESIDENTS: The Board of Directors of the STPCV Tenants Association endorses five candidates for positions on the board as recommended by the Nominating Committee. The election date is May 30, 2020.
Candidates endorsed by the Board include:
Current board member and secretary of the TA, Kirstin serves on the Maintenance/Quality of Life Committee and manages responses to tenants who contact the TA online. Kirstin coordinated demonstrations in front of the leasing office in 2014, when CWCapital issued mid-lease rent increases to Roberts tenants. Kirstin has lived in the community with her husband and daughter for 14 years. She has been a Special Education teacher, held a two-year term as PTA co-president at P.S. 40, is active in the PTA at MS 104, and works at the Third Street Music School.
Arica, a tax lawyer who took leave to raise her three school-aged children, has lived in ST since 2010; her husband is an original tenant. Since 2015 she has been the admin of the Stuyvesant Moms Facebook page with the goal of strengthening community bonds. She has organized community events such as donating Irish dance performances by her children and their Irish dance school for Stuy Town seniors at the Community Center, and organized toy drives through the Stuyvesant Moms group and the NYPD during the holiday season. She has met with management and Council Member Keith Powers regarding quality of life issues on the property. She looks forward to joining forces with the TA on quality of life issues and strengthening protections for tenants.
Denise is an officer and member of the Henry George School of Social Science board of directors, and an associate real estate broker with the Corcoran Group. For more than two decades, Denise has been a sales and marketing executive and a successful negotiator and dealmaker. Denise previously worked as executive VP for National Enterprise at the XO Group, the leading web-based life stage media and advertising tech marketing company serving millennial women; as a senior sales executive with global brands such as Reader’s Digest Association and Prevention magazine; and as a senior account management executive at Ogilvy & Mather, a global advertising agency. Denise studied General Business and Communications at Baruch College and NYU. She lives in Stuyvesant Town (since 1988) with her two children.
A lottery tenant, Adam was active in the tenants association where he previously lived, in Williamsburg, where he fought for better security and maintenance. He founded a food company specializing in gluten-free products and has had a career in media: as general manager of a not-for-profit film company producing social justice films for the education market, as a production manager for MTV Networks, and similar roles at other production companies.
Steven has served on the TA board for over a decade, where he helped lead organizing efforts in the wake of the Roberts litigation. As chair of the Legal Committee, he has helped formulate strategies for pending MCIs and other issues. Steven and his wife have lived in ST since 2007, and Steven coaches his children’s teams in Peter Stuyvesant Little League and the Manhattan Kickers Soccer Club. Steven is General Counsel and Director of Policy for the Global Healthy Living Foundation, an international patients’ rights organization. He previously worked as Chief Health Policy Advisor in the Mayor’s Office and as Special Counsel to the president of NYC Health + Hospitals. He is an adjunct professor in health policy at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs and a guest lecturer at Columbia University.
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 as of the April 10, 2020, Record Date. No more than one candidate’s name may be included on any one petition.
Petitions must include signature, printed name, address, and apartment number. The Nominating Committee will judge the validity of all petitions. Petitioning ends on April 11, 2020.
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 4, 2020, TA representatives will be available at the Community Center, 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 and received at the post office no later than April 11; OR
- dropped in our drop box at Oval Services or at the Community Center (449 East 14th Street, First Avenue Loop), no later than 3:00 p.m., April 11; OR
- sent in PDF form via email to [email protected] no later than 5:00 p.m., April 11.
Nominating Committee: Anne Greenberg, Michael Lang, Jeanette Snow, Wendy Byrne, and Bill Sterling.
Management has agreed to restore lobby and intercom directories. After multiple discussions with management over several months, the TA has been able to get our directories restored, both the paper directory in the lobby and the listing of names in the intercom. Management had removed the lobby directories and resident names from the intercoms.
At first, we were able to get management only to allow you to opt in to having your name in the intercom (you notified management via a card or online). But we persisted. We asked the TA attorneys to look into the matter, and they discovered cases that would have allowed us to file for a rent reduction due to the directories being removed. This was in addition to violations of the housing code
We’re happy to report that management will undertake an opt-out effort to all tenants. The intercoms should already have the names of anyone who responded to management's opt-in offer.
“We believe it’s important for neighbors to know one another, whether for forging friendships or looking out for one another in emergencies such as Superstorm Sandy. That has always been a strength of our community,” said Susan Steinberg, president of the TA.
Management has committed to restoring the lobby directories and the names of those who don’t opt out by March 11, 2020.
Read the letter from the attorney to management.
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. Five director positions are available. The election will take place in May 2020.
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, 2020.
Requirements for Director
- A resident of Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village
- 18 years of age or older
- Current member of the TA
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
- Be prepared to participate in one or more TA committees
Candidates must submit documentation to the Nominating Committee by February 7, 2020, 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.
Management has agreed to let tenants list their names in the intercom directory if they choose. Tenants will be allowed to opt in to having their names included. It will once again be possible for visitors, household staff, delivery people, emergency workers, and others to reach the correct tenant in the correct apartment by using the intercom.
Without notifying tenants, management recently removed tenants’ names from our intercom system. This followed the removal of the paper building directories from our lobbies and names not being placed on apartment doors.
The Tenants Association had already told management that we objected to the removal of the lobby directories, and again we raised our objections—and tenants'—about the intercoms. We suggested an opt-out process, which we thought would be easier to implement. However, management prefers an opt-in.
Whatever the process, our efforts resulted in names being restored.
- Management has agreed to let tenants opt in to having their names listed in the intercom directory.
- Management will not, however, restore the paper directories to lobbies.
- Nor will they place names on the doors of new tenants.
Soon management will be communicating with tenants in various ways about how they can opt in to the intercom directory.
Management has also informed us that the intercom system will no longer be used to send messages to tenants because tenants trying to retrieve and erase messages found the system confusing.
"This positive change for the intercom directories is a result of the Tenants Association keeping close tabs on events in the community, making it possible for tenants to reach us directly, and taking concerns directly to management on a regular basis. We thank CEO and General Manager Rick Hayduk for listening to these concerns and changing course in part on this particular issue," said Susan Steinberg, president of the TA.
We’ve organized a forum just for ST and PCV residents so you can learn more about the historic Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. THIS LAW AFFECTS US ALL.
Date: Saturday, October 19
Time: 1–4 p.m.
Where: Mount Sinai Beth Israel’s Podell Auditorium (ADA accessible)
10 Nathan D. Perlman Place, between 15th & 16th Sts., one block west of First Ave.
OPEN MIC Q&A
- How much can my rent go up?
- MCIs—what’s changing? How much can be added to my rent?
- My rent is over $2,775—how am I affected?
- I’m a lottery tenant. What does this mean for me?
- And more!
Read a summary of the new law.
Even if you attended other forums, you may want to attend this one.
State Senator Brad Hoylman
Assembly Member Harvey Epstein
Council Member Keith Powers
Tim Collins, attorney, Collins, Dobkin & Miller
Cathleen McCadden, Director, Intergovernmental Affairs
Woody Pascal, Deputy Commissioner
Anthony Tatano, Assistant Commissioner
Joseph Palozzola, VP, Intergovernmental Affairs
September 12—Thousands of Stuyvesant Town tenants learned yesterday that they would have to go across East 14th Street to 611 East 13th Street in Campos Plaza Community Center to vote, in accordance with a Poll Site Change Notice from the Board of Elections (BoE).
Year after year, polling sites, once numerous on the grounds of STPCV, have disappeared. Now even residents with 20th Street addresses are instructed to go to East 13th Street.
Tenants bombarded the STPCV Tenants Association Message Center and Council Member Keith Powers’s office on Wednesday, September 11, when the notices hit. Powers’s office had been working with the Board of Elections to find sites within the complex that would be more readily accessible, but the BoE did not inform him that a decision had been made or that notices would be sent. While the BoE has very stringent requirements for accessibility and number of voters allowed at any one site, there are sites on the property—such as the Community Center—that could be used, even if regular operations have to be suspended for one or two days a year.
“This begins to feel like voter suppression,” said Susan Steinberg, TA president. “What about other commercial or storage spaces on the property? And why is the Community Center no longer being made available?” said Steinberg. “We are flabbergasted that a community once riddled with polling sites now can’t accommodate its voters.”
Powers’s office is still trying to get this situation resolved so that seniors and the disabled, for whom the site was ostensibly changed, do not have to cross a street made dangerous for them by L-train construction and others don’t have to walk as much as half a mile to vote.
June 12—The State Senate and Assembly have reached a deal (scroll down for details). In summary, five of our bills—making Preferential Rent permanent for the duration of the tenancy, repealing the vacancy bonus, rent control relief, expanding the Emergency Tenant Protection Act across the state, and changing the 4-year look-back period are being adopted in their current form. Repealing high rent and high income vacancy decontrol is part of the deal but re-regulating units is NOT. Individual Apartment Improvements and Major Capital Improvements are being reformed rather than abolished. And Good Cause Eviction Protections, which would have brought protections to 5.5 million New Yorkers, was left out of the deal.
As the Housing Justice for All coalition, we released a statement calling this a "...partial victory that strengthens tenant protections against speculative landlords and opens the possibility for tenants to fight for rent stabilization across the State of New York."
Once the bills are out, they must "age" for three days before they can be voted on. We expect there to be major pushback from REBNY and RSA to try to kill the deal. We still need to keep the pressure on to make sure our bills pass and that Cuomo signs them!
Full Statement from the Upstate-Downstate Housing Alliance:
"The Senate and the Assembly have come together with a proposal to confront decades of injustice caused by inadequate tenants' rights in New York State. Housing Justice for All is proud to stand with the State Legislature as it takes meaningful steps forward to end tenant harassment, displacement, destabilization due to rising rents. This bill is affirmation of the strength of the statewide movement that we are building together," said Cea Weaver, Campaign Coordinator of the Housing Justice for All campaign.
"We can proudly say that after so many years of fighting relentlessly to ensure all New York renters get the stability they need, the tenant movement is taking back the protections we lost as a result of decades of Republican and real estate control in Albany. We are calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign this proposal which would provide stability and organizing power to millions of renters and manufactured home residents across our State.
"But we have a long way to go until every tenant in the state can live free from the fear of a rent hike or an eviction. This is a partial victory that strengthens tenant protections against speculative landlords and opens the possibility for tenants to fight for rent stabilization across the State of New York. We are looking forward to working together with the Senate and the Assembly, in the years to come, to make sure that we eliminate MCIs and IAIs once and for all, that we end no-fault evictions, and that the millions of renters across the entire State of New York—no matter where they live—can finally live free from the fear of displacement."
Details from the Joint Statement Released by the Assembly & Senate:
Extends the Rent Regulations Laws and Makes them Permanent:
o This extender makes the rent regulation system permanent, so they will not sunset at any time in the future without an act of the Legislature to repeal or terminate them.
o Rent Regulation laws have been scheduled to expire every four to eight years for decades.
- Repeals High Rent Vacancy Deregulation & High Income Deregulation:
o Repeals the provisions that allow removal of units from rent stabilization when the rent crosses a statutory high-rent threshold and the unit becomes vacant or the tenant’s income is $200,000 or higher in the preceding two years.
o Previous provisions led to the deregulation of more than 300,000 units since they were first passed in 1994.
- Reforms Owner Use Exception to Rent Regulation:
o Limits the use of the “owner use” provision to a single unit, requires that the owner or their immediate family use the unit as their primary residence, and protects long-term tenants from eviction under this exception by reducing the current length of tenancy required to be protected from eviction to 15 years.
- Keeps Stabilized Apartments Rented by Nonprofits in the Rent Stabilization System:
o Limits the temporary non-profit exception to rent stabilization by requiring units to remain rent-stabilized if they are provided to individuals who are or were homeless or are at risk of homelessness.
o Provides that individuals permanently or temporarily housed by nonprofits status as tenants while ensuring that units used for these purposes remain rent stabilized.
- Repeals the Vacancy Bonus & Longevity Bonus:
o Repeals the “vacancy bonus” provision that allows a property owner to raise rents as much as 20% each time a unit becomes vacant.
o It also repeals the “longevity bonus” provision that allows rents to be raised by additional amounts based on the duration of the previous tenancy.
o Prohibits local Rent Guidelines Boards from reinstating vacancy bonus on their own.
- Prohibits Rent Guidelines Board from Setting Class-Specific Renewal Increases:
o Prohibits Rent Guidelines Boards from setting additional increases based on the current rental cost of a unit or the amount of time since the owner was authorized to take additional rent increases, such as a vacancy bonus.
- Makes Preferential Rents the Base Rent for Lease Renewal Increases:
o Prohibits owners who have offered tenants a “preferential rent” below the legal regulated rent from raising the rent to the full legal rent upon renewal.
o Once the tenant vacates, the owner can charge any rent up to the full legal regulated rent, so long as the tenant did not vacate due to the owner’s failure to maintain the unit in habitable condition.
o Owners with rent-setting regulatory agreements with federal or state agencies will still be permitted to use preferential rents based on their particular agreements.
- Provides Relief from Large Rent Increases for Rent-Controlled Tenants:
o Sets Maximum Collectible Rent increases at the average of the five most recent Rent Guidelines Board annual rent increases for one-year renewals.
o This bill also prohibits fuel pass-along charges.
- Extends Rent Overcharge Four-Year Look-Back Period to Six Years:
o Extends the four-year look-back period to six or more years as reasonably necessary to determine a reliable base rent, extends the period for which an owner can be liable for rent overcharge claims from two to six years, and would no longer allow owners to avoid treble damages if they voluntarily return the amount of the rent overcharge prior to a decision being made by a court or Housing and Community Renewal (HCR).
o Allows tenants to assert their overcharge claims in court or at HCR and states that while an owner may discard records after six years, they do so at their own risk.
- Reforms Rent Increases for Major Capital Improvements (MCIs):
o Lowers the rent increase cap from 6% to 2% in New York City and from 15% to 2% in other counties.
o Provides the same protections of the 2% cap going forward on MCI rent increases attributable to MCIs that became effective within the prior 7 years.
o Lowers increases further by lengthening the MCI formula’s amortization period.
o Eliminates MCI increases after 30 years instead of allowing them to remain in effect permanently.
o Significantly tightens the rules governing what spending may qualify for MCI increases and tightens enforcement of those rules by requiring that 25% of MCIs be inspected and audited.
- Reforms Rent Increases for Individual Apartment Improvements (IAIs):
o Caps the amount of IAI spending at $15,000 over a 15-year period and allow owners to make up to 3 IAIs during that time.
o Makes IAI increases temporary for 30 years rather than permanent and requires owners to clear any hazardous violations in the apartment before collecting an increase.
- Requires Annual Report From HCR On Rent Administration and Tenant Protection:
o Requires the Division of Housing and Community Renewal to submit an annual report on the programs and activities undertaken by the Office of Rent Administration and the Tenant Protection Unit regarding implementation, administration, and enforcement of the rent regulation system.
o The report will also include data points regarding the number of rent stabilized units within each county, applications and approvals for major capital improvements, units with preferential rents, rents charged, and overcharge complaints.
- Co-Op/Condo Conversion Reforms:
o Strengthens and makes permanent the system that protects tenants in buildings that owners seek to convert into co-ops or condos.
o Eliminates the option of “eviction plans” and institutes reforms for non-eviction plans.
o Requires 51% of tenants in residents to agree to purchase apartments before the conversion can be effective. (Currently 15% of apartments must be sold and the purchasers may be outside investors.)
o For market-rate senior citizens and disabled tenants during conversion, evictions are permitted only for good cause, where an unconscionable rent increase does not constitute good cause.
- Establishes Rent Stabilization as an Option for Localities Statewide:
o Removes the geographical restrictions on the applicability of the rent stabilization laws, allowing any municipality that otherwise meets the statutory requirements (e.g., less than 5% vacancy in the housing stock to be regulated) to opt into rent stabilization.
- Establishes Stronger Housing Security and Tenant Protections Statewide:
o Creates transformational protections for all residential tenants throughout the state.
o Bans the use of so-called “tenant blacklists” - protecting tenants who enforce their rights.
o Limits security deposits to one month’s rent and provides required procedures to ensure the landlord promptly returns the security deposit.
o Includes a wide variety of protections for tenants during the eviction process, including strengthening protections against retaliatory evictions.
o Creates the crime of unlawful eviction, where a landlord illegally locks out or uses force to evict a tenant, as a Class A Misdemeanor and also punishable by a civil penalty of between $1,000 and $10,000 per violation.
o Requires landlords to provide notice to tenants if they intend to increase the rent more than 5% or do not intend to renew the tenants’ lease.
o Provides tenants more time in eviction proceedings to get a lawyer, fix violations of the lease, or pay rent owed.
o Expands the ability of the court to stay an eviction for up to one year if the tenant cannot find a similar suitable dwelling in the same neighborhood after due and reasonable efforts or the eviction would cause extreme hardship.
- Implements Mobile & Manufactured Home Tenant Protections:
o Limits rent increases to 3% unless the increase is justifiable, in which case the park owner may increase rent up to 6%. Should the park owner need an increase higher than 6%, the owner must apply for a hardship allowance from HCR.
o Establishes new Rent-to-Own protections that would protect MMH tenants attempting to purchase a home from a MMH park owner or operator.
o Adds a “Homeowner’s Bill of Rights” rider for all leases.
o Strengthens protections against evictions from parks, including for seasonal residents.
o Creates new protections for MMH owners if a park owner or operator decides to change the use of the park by prohibiting a park owner from starting an eviction case against a MMH for 2 years and provide a stipend up to $15,000 when they are evicted due to the change of use.