Monday, October 25, 2010

Stellar Repaying Thousands in Submetering Case!!!!


STELLAR IS NOW CREDITING US FOR THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS for APPLIANCE OVERCHARGES !!

If you have already filed a Submetering Appliance Overcharge Complaint, read below to verify  the amount of the credit.

If you paid an appliance surcharge under Mitchell-Lama and are not yet part of the lawsuit,  skip down to read about how you can join in and save money.

YOUR dues and legal contributions paid for our lawyer’s hard work and this terrific savings!   Let’s keep those contributions coming.  You know that contributing $100 toward our legal fund now can be worth thousands of dollars in savings.
 
HOW TO READ YOUR RENT BILL IF YOU ARE ALREADY PARTICIPATING IN THE SUIT

I.   If your rent shows a minus sign ( - ) in front of the "Amount due,"  that is a credit and you don't owe anything this month (and your rent may be much less next month).  Circle the minus sign and keep the rent bill safe.  If it would make you feel safer, you can make a copy of the bill and send the original with the circled minus sign to Stellar.

II.  If you want to make sure that Stellar gave you the proper credit next to the words "Pursuant to the DHCR order" on your rent bill:

1. Look at the "Subtotal" on the top right of the DHCR Calculations Chart you received with the DHCR letter granting your complaint.  That chart includes the overcharge amount, interest, and any excess security,  up to a specific date.  You have to find out what that date is.   So read on!
      2. Look at the last line on the bottom of the Calculations Chart.  On the left-hand side, DHCR lists the lease period for the last lease it considered.  On the right-hand side of the same row, DHCR states the number of months for which it credited you in the calculations.  Using that number of months, start counting from the beginning of that lease to figure out which was the last month for which DHCR is crediting you  for the appliance surcharge.
      EXAMPLE:  
      Tenant Green's lease began 12/01/08, and they gave Tenant Green credit for 13 months.  That is one month in 2008 and 12  months in 2009.
      3. Subtract the number of months in 2009 and 2010 that DHCR gave you credit  for (in the example above it is 12 months) from 22 (the number of months in 2009 and 2010 for which Stellar has charged the tenant).

      4. Multiply the answer by the amount of the appliance surcharge.

      5. Add that total to the "Subtotal" at the top right of the page.

        ANOTHER  EXAMPLE FROM START TO FINISH:
        1. The "subtotal" amount on the top right says $800.
        2. The monthly surcharge Stellar has been billing the tenant is $25.  During 2009 and 2010, Stellar billed for 22 months so far (through October 2010).
        DHCR credited the tenant for 10 months - through October 2009.   

        From October 2009 to October 2010 is 12 months for which the tenant did not get DHCR credit on the Calculations Chart: 
        => November and December 2009 (2 months)

        plus
                =>  the 10 months so far in 2010.
        Multiply those 12 months times the amount of the surcharge:
        12 X $25.  That comes to $300.

        Add $800 (the "subtotal" amount) and $300.  That comes to $ 1100.

        That (or something a little larger to include interest) should be the amount WITH A "MINUS" SIGN on your rent bill next to the words "Pursuant to the DHCR order."  That is your credit.
        ___________________________________


        IF YOU NEVER FILED AN OVERCHARGE COMPLAINT, NOW IS THE TIME.

        If your Mitchell-Lama appliance surcharge became part of your first rent stabilized rent, pull together all your old leases and lease renewals (going back to December 2004) and get a tenant ledger from Stellar Management at 70 West 93rd Street.  Then call or e-mail Sue to make an appointment (about an hour) to fill out the paperwork. (Note: If you are on SCRIE or DRIE or are applying to those programs, contact Sue about whether you should file.)


        DON'T PAY STELLAR MORE THAN YOU HAVE TO  !
        and contribute to our legal fund, which made this possible!

        Sunday, October 24, 2010

        Appellate court hears "Unique or Peculiar" Case

        The Appellate Division First Department - the state's mid-level court for our area - heard oral argument in the "unique or peculiar circumstances" case on October 21, 2010. 
          
        The "unique or peculiar" phrase refers to a provision of the state's Emergency Tenant Protection Act that landlords are trying to use to increase the first stabilized rent when they take pre-1974 buildings out of Mitchell-Lama. A couple of years ago, the state's highest court (the Court of Appeals) ruled that the Emergency Tenant Protection Act's "U or P" provision applies to all apartments (leaving Mitchell-Lama) that were built or vacated any time after July 1969 and before 1974. Thus owners MAY APPLY to DHCR for a "U or P" increase for such apartments.

        The landlords challenged DHCR's 2007 regulation that says that just leaving Mitchell-Lama is not by itself sufficient to show "unique or peculiar circumstances" that would raise the rent stabilized rents to market rate.

        The lower court (called the State Supreme Court) had ruled that the regulation was a valid interpretation of the state law, the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974. Among other factor the regulation met, it is consistent with long-held DHCR policy and other court decisions : that "U or P" is not applicable to entire buildings (except in very rare circumstances), let alone to entire programs.

        For a complete summary of the article, click here.

        Wednesday, October 13, 2010

        Free Mammograms in the neighborhood

        Date: Saturday, Oct. 16th

        Time: 9:30 a.m. to Noon

        Place: the Frederick Douglass Houses Children's Aid Society
        885 Columbus Avenue at 104th St.

        Call 800-654-6868 to schedule an appointment.

        This event is sponsored by 
        • Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell,
        • Jane Wisdom, president of the Douglass Houses Tenant Association
        • Project Renewal.

        Advisory Board meeting - Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010

        ADVISORY BOARD MEETING - WEDNESDAY, OCT. 13, 2010 
        8 PM in the Community Room 

        For Board Members*


        Maria Acevedo Na’ava Ades Jacob Brockington
        Joan Browne Sharon Davis Rosa Delgado
        Barbara Geller Debbie Gonzalez Rich Jordan
        Steve KoulishMary MartinMary McLaughlin
        Helen MerberGreg MurrayPrue Opperman
        Letty OrellanoMaxine SoaresSue Susman




        AGENDA: 
        • Safety for tenants: emergency cards, keys, and more.  What's the best way to keep each other safe?
        • Updates on 3 pending cases (submetering, major capital improvement, "unique or peculiar circumstances")
        • Finances / fundraising

        *The next General Tenants Meeting will be Wednesday, November 17, 2010.

        Sunday, October 3, 2010

        Emergency Contacts and Keys for the Super!

        Recently the police broke down a door to get to a tenant who was ill in her apartment.  She lay there for more than a day because no one had a key to check - and we were not sure if she was away.  The tenant is now recovering in the hospital.  Unfortunately, she will have to pay for the broken door and the new lock the super installed to keep the apartment secure. 
        What she lacked:  an EMERGENCY CONTACT card or a current SET OF KEYS - both to be left with the super in the locked box in his office.

        Please make sure that Carlos has an up-to-date emergency contact card that states whom to contact and either

        (1) which two or three households in the building have your keys (in case one of them is away) or

        (2) that the super has your keys in the locked box in his office (and please give him a set).