Tuesday, December 28, 2010


As we worked hard for, the state's mid-level court - the same court that issued the "unique or peculiar" decision that started our problems - has supported us unanimously.  This affects not only us but tenants in some 60 buildings. The landlords whose tenants brought the case own these buildings:

Boulevard Towers I (now Stellar 2020 LLC)
Bruckner Towers (now Stellar Bruckner LLC)
Central Park Gardens (now West 97th St. Realty Corp.)
Columbus House (95 W. 95th st.)
Columbus Manor LLC (70 W. 93rd St.)
Dancia - 1889 Sedgwick (now Stellar Sedgwick LLC)
Janel Towers LLC (Bronx)
Hempstead Plaza (now Hempstead Stellar Plaza LLC)
Highbridge House (now Highbridge House Ogden LLC)
New Amsterdam (now Axton)
Noble Mansion (now Noble Mansion Associates LLC)
River Park (now Stellar Morrison LLC)
Town House West Apts (now Town House West , LLC)
Undercliff (now Stellar Undercliff LLC)
Westview (now 765 Amsterdam Ave LLC)
Westwood House, LLC

The Appellate Division, First Department (the  state's mid-level court covering Manhattan and the Bronx), has ruled VALID the state's housing agency regulation that says that just leaving Mitchell-Lama is NOT by itself a "unique or peculiar circumstance" justifying a big rent increase.    You can read the court decision at
http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2010/2010_09569.htm .

This applies to all buildings constructed before 1974 that have been (or will be) taken out of Mitchell-Lama.  Those buildings go into rent stabilization under the 1974 Emergency Tenant Protection Act.  A loophole in that law says that in "unique or peculiar circumstances" the state's housing agency can adjust the first stabilized rent.  The definition of what those "circumstances" are was at stake.  Landlords   claimed that just leaving Mitchell-Lama qualified, while the courts (and the tenants) pointed out that "unique or peculiar" (sometimes called "unique and peculiar" or U&P) means what it says: a few, not every apartment coming out of the program.

Thanks to David Hershey-Webb of Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben,Donoghue & Joseph, the attorney for the Columbus House Tenants Association who wrote the brief and argued the case on appeal to the Appellate Division.  (The other tenant associations - including ours - were not permitted to remain as "intervening parties" at this level, although they had been at the lower State Supreme Court level.)  It is extremely likely that the owners will try to appeal to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals.

But what a nice victory to savor right now!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Candlelight Vigil - Monday, Jan. 3rd to Save our Homes

Candlelight Vigil

Join your fellow tenants and community leaders,
Assembly Housing chair Vito Lopez
and other elected officials

Tell Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo and our state legislators 
that our

*Full Repeal of Vacancy Decontrol.
*Extend Rent Protections to all Mitchell-Lama and
Section 8 buildings taken out of government programs.

Monday, January 3, 2011, 6:00 pm sharp!
(get there are 5:30 to go through security)
City Hall Steps, Manhattan

Bring signs, banners, neighbors and warm clothes!

On June 15, 2011, state rent protection laws will expire, threatening the stability of NYC and suburban neighborhoods and putting HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of New York residents at risk of losing their homes. Join us as we call on Governor Cuomo and NYS legislators to strengthen and renew our rent laws NOW!

Meet Steve Koulish in the lobby at 4:30 PM and go down together!

For more information:
Anderson Fils-Aimé
Tenants Political Action Committee        (347) 392-9851
For the Real Rent Reform Campaign         andersonfilsaime@yahoo.com

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cards for Cuomo, Governor-Elect - We got lots and lots!

Photo by Dan Bryk
Tenants in this building really came through, and we've gotten over 150 cards for Governor-Elect Cuomo.  Some were sent off before we could count them, and some tenants sent their own. Tenants offered cards (so we went through some 150 -) and stamps.

Photo by Dan Bryk
Thanks to: Renée Belzile,  Paulie Fisher, Linda Greenman, Monica Jenkins, Patricia Jordan, Steve Koulish, Jesse Poppick, Eve Posen, Carmen Reyes, Claude Saucier, Maxine Soares  - and anyone and everyone who sat at the table! And thanks to the many, many tenants who signed cards at the table, sent off their own cards, contributed money for postage and cards, contributed cards, and joined in the fun. (Some took a cookie or two.)
Photo by Dan Bryk
If you'd like to send a holiday card to Governor-Elect Cuomo but haven't gotten around to it, you can write your own -  or contact Sue and get a pre-printed card that you just have to sign (and print your name and address on) and send off.

Click here for a sample card.

With the other buildings and groups sending Cards to Cuomo, there should be big stacks of cards on Governor-Elect Cuomo's desk before he takes office!