Friday, March 26, 2010

SUMMARY of MARCH 17, 2010 GENERAL TENANTS MEETING

FLOOR CAPTAINS MEETING – April 7th in the Community Room – Floor captains are the thread that holds our building tapestry together, and they are invited to a meeting on the evening of April 7th (check the time on the mailroom board) to talk about their important role.
APPLIANCE SURCHARGE CASE:
                                                                    
Although the lump sum payments due us must wait until the appeals are finished, Stellar is supposed to lower our rents immediately. That also means that any leases renewed (or that have gone into effect) since the date of the letter should be revised in keeping with DHCR’s order.  Tenants might want to keep  some money aside in the very slim case that our win is reversed.  

Despite DHCR regulations, Stellar is still charging the original rent for those tenants who have already gotten a DHCR order lowering their rent.  If you have received a letter from DHCR with calculations stating what your rent should be, please pay only the "LRR" (legal regulated rent) with a letter saying that that is what you are doing.   Don’t forget to pay the electricity bill too! (If you recently got a lease renewal with a higher rent, please contact Sue for a special letter.) 
You can put aside (in your own bank account) the difference between the legal regulated rent ordered by DHCR and the rent Stellar is charging - in the unlikely event that we lose Stellar's appeal.
 
If you can, please COPY your entire rent bill and get Sue the copy to give to our lawyer.

Send your rent check by certified mail, return receipt requested to:


Stellar Management
156 William Street, 10th Floor
New York, New York 10038
Attention: Francine Schiff.
                                                                             

There is no reason for Stellar to have our money (in violation of DHCR regulations) in the meantime.  Our lawyer has written to Stellar asking that rents be reduced  and recent overpayments credited) and that leases be revised.  If you have not yet filed a complaint but had appliance surcharges when we were in Mitchell-Lama that became part of your rent stabilized rent, you can still file!  Contact Sue.

GARAGE: It’s a public area, so please do not leave valuables and do remind the staff to lock your car after parking it.

"UNIQUE OR PECULIAR" CASE:  Stellar and the other landlords have filed a notice that they intend to appeal our win in the lowest State court.  We are talking with the tenant associations in the two other buildings that have shared a lawyer with us about apportioning the appeal costs based on the number of affected apartments in each building.  We need to appeal to present a human face to the court, to show tenant unity, to underscore the importance of the case, to stand up to bullies, and because there is little relief in sight for Albany – although we keep plugging away. The landlords are challenging DHCR’s regulation that says that just leaving Mitchell-Lama is not a “unique or peculiar circumstance” justifying an increase in our stabilized rents.  Stellar applied to raise our rents between 300 and 500% (depending on the apartment.) 

FINANCES:  Treasurer Joan Browne and Board Member Barbara Geller will provide summaries to each tenant of their (gratefully received) contributions three times a year.   Our legal fund pays for our lawyer for the “unique or peculiar” case (to keep the owners from raising our rent stabilized rents to market rate); for the appliance surcharge case (we’ve asked for legal fees, but they are not common at the DHCR); for advice on other issues that affect our building.

Please contributeWe are asking every apartment to contribute $100 toward our legal fund, $10 for annual dues ($25 for new tenants), and whatever they can afford. 

And we’re selling RAFFLES! 
If you haven’t received any to sell, please contact your floor captain.   The drawing will be at the POT LUCK on May 22nd in the backyard (or the community room if it’s raining).  

The Prizes are:
and more. 

To help with the Pot Luck for May 22nd, contact Debbie Gonzalez at debboroo [ at   ] msn.com.

POLITICS:  Stellar Tenants for Affordable Housing (we’re a member) is providing important information to the City’s HPD and other agencies involved in letting Stellar take over affordable buildings like Tivoli Towers in Brooklyn.  These agencies need to know that Stellar disregards  DHCR orders – like the one to lower the rents of those with appliance surcharges under Mitchell-Lama.

The Real Rent Reform / Housing Here and Now Campaign and the Mitchell-Lama PIE campaign (we’re members of both) will knock on doors and make phone calls to tenants in the districts of 4 state senators who oppose the repeal of vacancy decontrol and oppose our Mitchell-Lama bill.   The senators are Pedro Espada, Jeffrey Klein, Martin Malave Dilán, and Martin Golden.   Contact Mario Mazzoni at Met Council on Housing if you would like to participate: 212-979-6238, extension 207, or email: mario@metcouncil.net .


Pedro Espada, who heads the Senate’s housing committee, finally has an opponent for the Democratic primary: Desiree Hunter.  Although not (yet?) supported by the Bronx Democratic Committee, Ms. Hunter support from her position on the board of the North West Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition (a 12,000-member group), and as head of a 1500-apartment co-op.  She headed the group opposed to turning the Kingsbridge Armory into a shopping mall, and is now part of the government committee to make it into a community center, among other things.  She also took her co-op’s $25 million capital fund out of Wells Fargo bank (which had bought the prior bank where the funds had been) since Wells Fargo was a major player in snookering people with subprime mortgages.   Espada got just over 5,000 votes last time.  With tenant help, his opponent can beat him.

Tenants signed letters to Vito Lopez, head of the State Assembly’s housing committee thanking him for NOT supporting Espada’s phony rent stabilization bill.  That bill would freeze the rents of the poorest tenants (a good thing), but pay for it by allowing all landlords with J-51 tax benefits to go ahead and take thousands of apartments out of rent stabilization.  This would undo a recent decision by the state’s highest court.  It would also support the landlords’ view that rent stabilization should only exist for the very poor and not for the middle class.

BUILDING:
We’ve had luke warm water in the evenings.  Both Carlos and the building manager have been notified.  If it doesn’t get better, let’s start calling 311.  (The law requires  hot water 24 hours a day in all seasons.) 

And we’re hoping the backyard garden will look good in planting season - and especially in time for the Pot Luck Party on May 22nd! If you want to help with the garden, contact Barbara Geller AFTER April 25th.  We hope building manager Lucio Pedraza will do as promised and work with Barbara for nicer plantings all around.  



The Executive Committee
  Joan B. Browne (new e-mail pending)

No comments:

Post a Comment