Saturday, October 24, 2009

Submetering Overcharge Complaint: How to Answer DHCR

DHCR is sending those who filed complaints copies of their "Resident Ledgers" and leases or lease renewals from Stellar.  Use those to fill out your forms (Answer, Rent Payment Information, and Other Charges/ Fees), which you can download by clicking here.  (You can type directly into the forms.)

If you need help:

Tenants Luciane DeAndrade , Ana Soto , Barbara Geller, Rosa Delgado , Greg Murray and,  Sue Susman  are available to help if you contact them by e-mail to arrange a time.

Once you have the forms filled out 
(1) sign and date pages 1 and 3 in BLUE ink.
(2) attach Stellar's Resident Ledger (or see below if you have not received it)
(3) attach copies of your lease and lease renewals covering the period from Dec. 2004 to the present.

If you have not gotten Stellar's Resident Ledger from DHCR yet:

Look at a model of the pages of charts: Click here.

For a template of the forms into which you can TYPE IN your information, click here.

Download and then fill in DHCR pages 2 and 3.  Start from December 2004 (at the bottom of the column with all the xxxx) and then go to January 2005, and on from there.

If you never got a DHCR request for additional information, make sure to fill in the Answer page (page 1)   After you have filled out the rest, check off on the ANSWER sheet what you have attached, and date and sign this paper in BLUE INK.

Page 2:  In the "Lease" section, fill in your lease amounts and lease renewal dates in chronological order.  The lease that covers December 2004 should say in the comments section "Mitchell-Lama lease".

Page 2: In the "Rents" section, fill in the rent that you paid MINUS ANY APPLIANCE SURCHARGE.
  •  While we were in Mitchell-Lama, that would be either your "base rent" or your base rent plus any "modified lease" addition - otherwise known as an income surcharge.
  • Once we entered rent stabilization (for most people the first rent stabilized bill was March 2005), enter only the "base rent."
  •  Beginning March 2008, we paid our own electricity. Do NOT include the electricity bill. Just include the base rent.

Page 3: In the "Other Charges / Fees" section, only enter  the APPLIANCE SURCHARGES you paid. Unless you got a new refrigerator or stove from Stellar after January 7, 2005, you had no appliance surcharges after March 2005 - so just enter them for December 2004, January and February 2005.  In the left-hand-column, state "appliance surcharge.  If you're not sure of the amount see this chart:

Appliance Surcharges in effect at the time we left Mitchell-Lama

Air Conditioner

  • up to 7,500 BTU: $17.70
  • 7,500 to 10,000 BTU: $22.91
  • over 10,000 BTU: $31.25
Dishwasher: $6.40

Frost-free refrigerator: $12.25 (based on agreement between Stellar
and DHCR as a condition of buyout).


Date, print your name, and sign the bottom of page 3 IN BLUE INK.


(1) LEASE & LEASE RENEWALS:  A copy of the FIRST PAGE (just the part showing your name and apartment number and the dates) of your original lease for that apartment, and copies of the renewal leases for that apartment.   We need documents from December 2004 to the present.
  • If you don't have your leases, you can substitute your Apartment Rent Registration Form for that year.
(2)  IF you have not received DHCR's mailing containing Stellar's Resident Ledger,  you can submit rent stubs from December 2004 to the present.  Tape them in chronological order (as many as you can fit on a page) on sheets of paper that have your name, your docket number (WE 410____R - and fill in the blank) and your apartment number.  Make photocopies (or bring them to us to be photocopied).

Give the final copy to the person helping you to fill out the papers or bring them to 15T.   You will get a pdf file of the scanned-in document and all attachments for your files.

Monday, October 5, 2009


DHCR and Stellar Management have responded to our complaint about submetering.  That complaint says that when the building became submetered, Stellar should have rolled back the appliance surcharge amounts that became part of our base stabilized rents.

DHCR requests more information from each of the 115 or so tenants who signed a complaint. 

BUT even if you haven't received your DHCR packet yet,  we need you to SIGN TWO LETTERS  (asking for an extension of time and authorizing our lawyer to represent you)

and get them to the Executive Committee members as soon as possible.  Click on the words "SIGN TWO LETTERS" for a copy of each letter.

THEN, get together as much as you can of the following:

  1. copies of all leases and lease renewals from December 2004 to now
  2. rent stubs from December 2004 to now
  3. your checkbook records
  4. cancelled rent checks or money orders from December 2004 to now.
You will need as many of those documents as you can find to fill in the sheets that DHCR has sent.  To fill them out:

  1. On the back of the "Answer" sheet ("Page:02"), in the top section about leases, write in the dates of each lease renewal between December 2004 and the present.

    Here are some important dates to remember as you fill in the charts:
    January 7, 2005 - we left Mitchell-Lama and entered rent stabilization. So the rent bills for December 2004 and January 2005 list any appliance surcharges SEPARATELY. Just put down the rent (with any income surcharge), but do NOT list the appliance surcharge on this page for those two months.

    January 1, 2008- Submetering began, so Stellar rolled back our rents according to DHCR per-room requirements as of March 1, 2008. So unless your new lease began that January, February or March 2008, your rent would have gone down in March.

  2. On the bottom of that same page, fill in the rents you paid from December 2004 to the present - going month by month. Start with the very lower right-hand corner (December 2004).

  3. On the next page, entitled "OTHER CHARGES/FEES" (it is "Page:03"), look at the spaces for December 2004 (all the way at the bottom right) and January 2005 (top right). In those spaces, fill in the APPLIANCE SURCHARGES you paid under Mitchell-Lama. Those are the same surcharges that became part of your stabilized rent the next month.
  4. After you have found all the documents you can, you can fill in the FRONT of the "ANSWER" sheet. Print: "Attached please find the following documentation in support of my rent overcharge complaint:" and then list the items that you have found, one by one. For example, "Attached please find the following documentation in support of my rent overcharge complaint:

    • rent stubs for January, February, April, December 2006;
    • rent stubs for March, April and November, 2007;
    • Cancelled rent payment checks for December 2004, February 2008, and January through June 2009"
We will be responding TOGETHER through our lawyer rather than individually - but our lawyer cannot help unless he has the information from each of us. We will have tables in the lobby (NOT Oct. 10-11) to collect the documents.  If you can sit at a table the weekend of Oct. 17-18, please contact Sue and stay posted for the schedule of table sitting.