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).
Thurs., Nov. 9: State Senator Brad Hoylman hosting town hall on the small business crisis
We've all seen the empty storefronts as small business after small business is forced out due to rising rents. State Senator Brad Hoylman is hosting a town hall on the topic with Jeremiah Moss, author of the book and blog Vanishing New York. See the flyer for details.
TA Open Meeting—Sunday, Nov. 19, at 2 p.m.
Please join us at an open meeting for tenants on Sunday, November 19, at 2 p.m. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.
Baruch IS 104, 20th St. between First and Second Aves.
Open mic Q&A—bring your questions
What’s happening in the community and around us? Plenty! Find out what it means for you.
Topics include updates on:
Contaminants under the property—Con Ed’s remediation plan
Mount Sinai Beth Israel
On the waterfront: the resiliency project and ferries
Also, updates on existing and future issues affecting you from
Outgoing City Council Member Dan Garodnick
City Council Member–elect Keith Powers
State Senator-to-be Brian Kavanagh
State Senator Brad Hoylman
Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer
Manufactured Gas Plant Remediation—Con Ed and NYS Public Meeting, Wed., Nov. 1, 2017
Councilmember Dan Garodnick has put together an FAQ about the MGP situation.
History: Before ST and PCV were built, parts of the site were occupied by manufactured gas plants to convert coal and oil into gas and store it. The process created by-products and waste, which are still underground. Three sites are in ST, and one is in PCV.
Now: For over 10 years, Con Ed has sampled our indoor air—they say it’s OK. Con Ed has also checked for evidence of MGP-related impacts below the ground surface—they say they’re at least 5 feet below the surface with the majority much deeper.
The plan: Con Ed plans to remove the MGP material, and there will be policies to prohibit and prevent exposure to any materials that remain on-site. Also involved are the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the NYS Dept. of Health.
This is a necessarily brief summary, so please go to this website. Click on the fact sheets for a two-page summary of the situation. The decision documents contain more information, including helpful maps on the last page. Materials are also available for viewing at the Epiphany branch of the New York Public Library, on E. 23rd St.
And come to the meeting on Wed., Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. at MSBI's Podell Auditorium to hear more and voice your concerns. The public review period will be extended until Dec. 1.
The Podell Auditorium is located in MSBI's Bernstein Building, 10 Perlman Place. That's one block west of First Ave. between 15th and 16th Sts.
Note: Some of the information contained here is taken from the Con Ed fact sheets.
TA Activity Roundup—Summer 2017
We challenged MCIs: The TA filed a Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) with the state’s Division of Housing & Community Renewal for exterior restoration work on several Peter Cooper buildings. The outcome of this legal action will ultimately affect residents of other Stuy Town or Peter Cooper buildings that have undergone or are currently undergoing work on their façades. Despite our filing a PAR, DHCR jumped the gun and approved a few of the applications. The TA’s attorney is filing objections.
We educated management how not to collect retroactive MCI charges: An under-door notice from management to residents of one Peter Cooper building hit by the façade MCI advised that the MCI rent increase would appear on September rent bills and that the retroactive increase (20 months) would be billed as a lump sum. That’s illegal, we explained to management. DHCR regulations state that monthly and retroactive MCI charges combined cannot be more than 6% of the rent at the time the MCI application was filed. Furthermore, landlords can’t charge any retroactive while there is an active PAR, which is the case for all the exterior restoration applications. This is why the TA needs you to alert us when you receive a management communication.
We went to bat—again—for key cards without your name on it: When a tenant recently requested a key card without his name on it, Resident Services claimed he didn’t have that choice. Not so! We quickly clarified the issue with management. The TA won a court ruling on this matter 12 years ago, when MetLife switched from metal keys to electronic key cards. DHCR agreed that having names and photos compromised security. Want a card without your name on it? All you have to do is ask—it’s your legal right.
We stopped reconfiguration work being done without work permits: The TA’s report to the Department of Buildings stopped work on five Peter Cooper apartments that were undergoing major work without permits. Checking on tenant reports of noise, vibrations, and cracking walls, we found that “reconfiguration”—turning the kitchen into a bedroom and creating a kitchenette in the living room—had started without required permits from the DOB. Management had to stop work until the permits were issued.
We arranged a meet and greet for the candidates for our City Council district: A sizable crowd of residents turned out Saturday, September 9, on the Oval to put questions directly to the primary candidates for City Council. We thank StuyTown Property Services for providing the venue.
We hosted a presentation on active shooter situations: FBI Special Agent Jim Kim gave a presentation on active shooter survival strategies.
New A/C Surcharge Effective 10/1/17
For tenants paying a surcharge for A/C units, the monthly cost per unit has been reduced to $26.02 effective October 1, 2017. The state agency Homes and Community Renewal sets the charge every year using information from the Rent Guidelines Board’s 2017 Price Index of Operating Costs. According to the agency’s Operational Bulletin 84-4, the charge was “decreased to reflect a 2.35% decrease in the price of electricity” for buildings where electricity is included in the rent.
Filming on the Property: Your Right to Privacy
Many residents saw notices about management filming in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village posted on the property on Sunday, 9/17/17, and Monday, 9/18/17. The notice, in brief, indicated that anyone entering the area automatically consented to be photographed, filmed, or recorded for any use—throughout the universe in perpetuity.
The same issue came up a number of years ago with previous owner Tishman Speyer. At that time, the Tenants Association advised Tishman Speyer that filming individuals without their written consent is a misdemeanor violation of Section 50 of New York’s Civil Rights law.
Last week on behalf of the TA, Councilmember Dan Garodnick contacted StuyTown Property Services General Manager Rick Hayduk to object to the broad language of the notice.
Hayduk stated clearly and unequivocally that—despite the language of the posted notice—individuals' images would not be used without their consent. He also advised that the filming was for a Blackstone internal video and not for promotional materials.
Hayduk has committed that, should future filming take place, he will include language in publicly posted signs that will make clear that no one's image will be used without their explicit written consent.
Tues., 9/26: Town Hall with Mayor Bill de Blasio
The Tenants Association, along with Waterside, several community boards, and others, is cosponsoring a town hall with Mayor Bill de Blasio. The town hall is being presented by Council Member Dan Garodnick, Borough President Gale Brewer, Representative Carolyn Maloney, State Senator Liz Krueger, and Assembly Member Dan Quart.
When: Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.
Where: High School of Art & Design, 254 East 56 Street
Space is limited, so please RSVP by Tuesday, Sept. 25, noon:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (212) 788-2781
See the flyer for more info.
Sat., Sept. 9: Meet and Greet City Council Candidates
Residents of ST and PCV are invited to meet candidates running for the City Council seat for District 4. As you probably know, longtime council member and PCV neighbor Dan Garodnick is term-limited. Nine Democrats and one Republican are vying for the seat.
Rather than a structured debate, this is your opportunity to express your concerns and ask your questions directly of the candidates.
When: Saturday, September 9, 1 p.m.–3 p.m.
Where: South side of the Oval (near Playground 12), weather permitting. In the event of cancellation, management and the TA will send an e-mail at noon.
The Democratic primary is September 12. There is no Republican primary.
The following candidates have agreed to attend:
Vanessa Aronson (D)
Maria Castro (D)
Rebecca Harary (R) will be represented by her campaign manager
Rachel Honig (D)
Jeffrey Mailman (D)
Keith Powers (D)
Bessie R. Schachter (D)
Marti Speranza (D)
If his schedule permits, Barry Shapiro (D) may attend. Alec Hartman (D) had a scheduling conflict.
The Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association thanks StuyTown Property Services for providing the venue for the event.
Don’t Want Your Name on Your Key Card? Say So!
When a tenant recently requested a building key card without his name on it, Resident Services claimed he didn’t have that choice. Not so. After he asked the Tenants Association for help, we quickly clarified the issue with management.
The TA won a court ruling on this issue 12 years ago, when Met Life decided to switch from metal to electronic building entrance keys. We commenced litigation before the Division of Housing and Community Renewal—and one of our primary concerns was the requirement that residents put their names as well as their photographs on the card. We saw no need for it, and viewed it as a threat to privacy and security. Today that threat is even greater.
The DHCR agreed—and ruled that tenants should have the option to not have their names printed on the card key. All you have to do is ask; it’s your legal right.