Thursday, July 10, 2008


CENTRAL PARK GARDENS TENANTS' ASSOCIATION
N E W S L E T T E R
J
une 10, 2008

RENT GUIDELINES BOARD VOTES BIG INCREASES FOR RENT STABILIZED LEASES RENEWED BETWEEN OCT. 1, 2008 AND SEPT. 30, 2009

Rent Stabilized tenants who renew their leases any time from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009 will get rent increases:
  • 2-year lease: the higher of 8.5% or $85
  • 1-year lease: 4.5% or $45
If you receive a lease renewal form that lists a $45 or $85 increase (for those whose rent is under $1000 and who have lived in their apartment for 6 years or more), DON'T SIGN IT YET.


It is possible that the $45 and $85 increases do not apply to apartments that were in Mitchell-Lama 6 years ago. So wait as long as you can (you have 60 days) in case DHCR rules we are protected.


Legal Aid attorney Ellen Davidson suggests that the safest is for a tenant to sign
the lease and return it to the building owner along with a letter explaining why the increase is illegal:
While those in rent stabilized apartments for 6 years or more may be subject to an increase of $85 (for 2-year leases) or $45 (for 1-year leases), that may well not apply to us since we only became rent stabilized in 2005.

Then if we win on this point, tenants can apply to DHCR for an overcharge.


If you have already filed your lease renewal for a lease term beginning October 1, 2008, and we win on this point, you can apply to DHCR for an overcharge.


Tenants from Central Park Gardens joined the protest against the high increases on June 19th - but this decision comes from City Hall, and as the Real Rent Reform (R3)Campaign notes, the deck is stacked against us. The R3 flyer says:

The Mayor appoints the RGB members without City Council input.

The Rent Guidelines Board sets increases without examining landlords' profits, so that when the price of oil goes up, the landlords get a high increase even if they're making money hand over fist. This year, the price of oil has gone up, but so have landlords' profits.

The Mayor engineers the final vote. While the public expects the RGB to debate issues and hash out their differences in public, the actual vote is planned behind the scenes by the chair. The two tenant members, Adriene Holder and Ron Languedoc, do a great job - but they have only two votes. They and the two landlord members do all the debating. But on the day of hte vote, Chairman Markus proposes a guideline and all of the public members vote for it - no debate, no re-voting - that is it! How do they come to the number? No one knows - even though the Open Meeting Law requires deliberations to be in public.

So we need some new rent stabilization laws - laws that will not permit landlords with violations to get increases; that will base rent adjustments on actual landlord expenses and incomes; that would make rent stabilized tenants "statutory tenants" - with no need for annual lease renewal; and that would more failry balance the Rent Guidelines Board's membership. (As it happens, the Duane/Latimer bill would do all this.

Save Wednesday, October 1st for a
Real Rent Reform Rally

(time and place to be announced).




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SUBMETERING COMPLAINTS:
If you have not yet picked up your "received" copy, contact Na'ava at 212-666-9591.

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WINDOW BLINDS - Fran Schiff of Stellar Management claims that Stellar provides window blinds - even though they have not since taking over the building. So if you are in rent stabilization and need your blinds repaired or replaced, please contact Linda Daniel - and then tell a member of the Executive Committee the result. If no blinds, we'll file a complaint with the state's Division of Housing & Community Renewal (DHCR).
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BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR:
  • Close the building's front doors.
  • Gently remind those you see near the front planters that coffee and cigarette butts will kill the plants.
  • Close your own door gently. If it often slams, ask Santiago Modesto ("Ito") to fix it so it cannot slam.
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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - See that section on the right-hand side of this website!
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SAD NEWS:
Condolences to Vernon Smith, whose wife of 38 years, Lillian Raby Smith, died on June 27th. And condolences to Dorienne Tsukuda on the death of her father.
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THE LOCAL BUZZ


Robin Smalls is interested in starting a dance-exercise class in the Community Room for tenants. If you are interested in helping or participating, please contact Robin or Sue.

Congratulations to Prudence Opperman and Irvarita Watson who recently
celebrated their birthdays with neighbors and friends, and to

Barbara Geller on her 2 certificates - with honors! - from the Cornell Extension Program on Urban Horticulture & Ecology, and from the NY Botanical Gardens: Landscape Design.

Late tenant Margaret Williams was honored by Friends House, which dedicated a library to her on June 25th. Friends House is a Quakerk-sponsored community of and for people living with AIDS. Margaret was a long-time board member and contributor there.


The Executive Committee
Sue Susman, president
Joan Browne,
treasurer & vice president
Na'ava Ades,
vice president
Steve Koulish,
vice president
Prudence Opperman,
vice president

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