Friday, December 18, 2009

December 2009 Newsletter - we keep winning!


We have wonderful victories to celebrate this holiday season:
  • U or P case: The State Supreme Court agreed with us, with the New York State Attorney General, and with the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and upheld DHCR's regulations that say that just leaving Mitchell-Lama is not a "unique or peculiar circumstance" justifying a rent increase.  So those of us in rent stabilized apartments have one more victory under our belts.  While the owners (Gluck and others) will appeal, the more victories the stronger our case.  Judge Alice Schlesinger wrote a very thorough opinion.

  • Appliance Surcharge Overcharge case: DHCR (the state housing agency) rule that Gluck overcharged tenants who had been paying appliance surcharges under Mitchell-Lama.  The first tenant to receive her letter is due $832.02 AND her rent will be rolled back by $33.  Click here to see two of the pages she received.  If you signed on, just wait for your letter; from DHCR - and then we'll see if Gluck pays up as ordered. (He could also appeal.) If you did not sign on but had an appliance surcharge under Mitchell-Lama that became part of your rent when we entered rent stabilization, you can still do it now. Contact Sue for information.
  • Reduction in Services case:  DHCR dismissed our "diminution in services" overcharge complaint mainly because while it was pending, we achieved virtually all the services Stellar had cut earlier: a railing for the front stairs, seating in the lobby, a re-opened backyard, a working television antenna, actual 24-hour security guard service, a new intercom system (almost finished) and window blind repair or replacement as a regular service. (The only two things we did not get were lighter-weight front doors and enlarged elevator cabs.)
And none of this could have happened without the strong support of tenants standing together - and contributing to our legal fund.

Treasurer Joan Browne and Barbara Geller are putting together a summary of each tenant's contributions for dues ($25/household for new tenants; and $10/year thereafter), and the legal fund.

We know money is tight around now, but any contribution we be welcome as we gird our loins for the next round of the U or P case and any other appeals.

Cold? If your apartment is chilly, have the staff check the radiators. Then keep a heat log: note the temperature in your apartment when the outside temperature is 55 degrees or colder, between 6 AM and 10 PM.  The inside temperature during those hours must be at least 68 degrees. Call Lucio Pedraza, the building manager, 212-222-4430, or e-mail him and then call 311 to report the problem. You are not required to give your name to 311.  Then give the 311 complaint number to Sue.

NEXT General Tenant Meeting:

Our next meeting will be on Wednesday, Jan. 20th at 8 PM in the Community Room.Old and new tenants welcome - but please bring a chair. We'll be voting for two new executive committee members (Prudence is retiring and we have one opening from earlier.) Contact Election Committee head Alitha Mobley in 5A if you need more information.

Have a great holiday and a Happy New Year!

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