Sunday, January 30, 2011

Heat and Hot Water

To achieve those temperatures, the boilers cycle on and off - just like an oven maintaining a steady temperature.  So touching the radiator at a given time is not the way to see if Stellar is in violation of the law.  (It is a way to see if the radiator itself is not working - if it stays cold to the touch for hours.  In that case,  fill out a repair requisition at the guard's desk in the lobby.)

Use a digital indoor thermometer to see if the temperature in your apartment is BELOW THE LEGAL LIMIT for that time of day.  If it is, please

(1) Call Stellar and tell them.  If no improvement after an hour, 

(2) Call 311.  (You may do it anonymously if you choose, but then no inspector will come to your apartment.)

(3) Get a reference number and give it to Sue.

Note that the City generally gives owners a period of about 24 hours to fix a broken boiler before issuing a violation.

Friday, January 28, 2011

MCI Order from DHCR

January 28, 2011

All rent stabilized tenants should receive today or tomorrow DHCR's grant of a small portion of Stellar's Major Capital Improvement (MCI) application.  Stellar asked for over $22 a room, and DHCR granted $7.67.  (Click here for a notice given to a 3-bedroom apartment tenant.)

Since this was not included in the February rent bills, just pay the regular February rent bill to  Stellar. 

Toward the end of next week, we'll be distributing a full explanation of the MCI and how it affects each apartment.

- The Executive Committee
Sue, Na'ava, Joan, Rich, Steve, Greg

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Summary of the January 19, 2011 meeting

[This summary has been revised as of Jan. 30, 2011.  ]

The meeting began with a moment of silence for Mona Goodman, who died at the age of 71 on January 6, 2011.  

MAJOR CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT CASE -  DHCR (now called HCR) has granted Stellar an MCI increase of $7.67 per room for rent stabilized tenants - just a fraction of the $22+ that Stellar had requested.  Given our tenant association's strong response, Stellar got nothing for any of the work covered by our escrow account when we left Mitchell-Lama, nor for submetering.   This does not affect market-rate tenants.

This increase is just a tad over 6% of our rents and 6% is the maximum MCI increase that can be added to our rents in a given year.  

Our rents will go up the full 6% beginning March 1, 2011, (to cover the permanent increase and a small part of the retroactive payment) and the year after, will go up TEMPORARILY to cover the rest of the retroactive payments due from June 2010 through the month of February 2011  (The HCR orders say that the retroactive amount they give covers 8 months - but Stellar did not charge us for the MCI on the February rent bill.)  The temporary increase should be dropped once the retroactive payments are made.  (A bill pending in the NYS Assembly would roll back even "permanent" MCI payments once the improvement is fully paid for.)

The apartment increases will be:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

NYS Assembly introduces Omnibus Bill

The NYS Assembly introduced an omnibus rent bill on January 19, 2011.
Among other things (and subject to further study of the bill in detail), it appears to
  • renew rent regulation
  • bar "Unique or Peculiar" increases in former Mitchell-Lamas and in former Project-based Section 8 buildings - all of which would go into rent stabilization regardless of the year built
  • repeal vacancy decontrol & roll back rents in previously regulated apartments to what they were in Dec. 2006
  • end Major Capital Improvement surcharges once the improvement is paid for

and do many other things.  IF the bill passes the Assembly, it would then have to pass the State Senate and be signed into law by the governor.  

Below is a quick summary part by part.  Click here for a Real Rent Reform memorandum in support of the bill.

The bill is divided into parts A through K:

Part A
Reform of the "owner use" eviction provisions, limits recovery to one apartment, procedural reforms including requirement that landlord prove immediate and compelling need.

Part B
Reduces statutory vacancy bonus from 20 to 10 percent, limits collection to once per calendar year.

Part C Allows a declaration of emergency for former Section 8 buildings, prohibits rent increases based on unique or peculiar circumstances (does not apply to Section 8 buildings that have already left Section 8).

Part D
Repeals the Urstadt Law, thereby restoring full home rule powers over rent and eviction regulation to New York City.

Part E
Extends Rent Regulation:, the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974, state rent control (including the Albany chapter of 1963), the three-county coop/condo conversion protection law, and the New York City coop/condo conversion protection law to June 15, 2016.

Part F
Reforms individual apartment improvement program by reducing the rent increase that can be added to an individual tenant's rent from 1/40the the cost to 1/60th, plus procedural provisions.

Part G
Repeals high rent vacancy decontrol, re-regulates apartments in suburbs that rented on or after January 1, 2007 for less than $5,000 per month (New York City) or less than $3,500 per month (suburbs); at current rent if vacancy occurred prior to January 1, 2007 or at legal rent in effect December 31, 2006 plus legal rent increases if vacancy occurred on or after January 1, 2007.

Part H
Reforms preferential rent provisions to prohibit landlords from raising preferential rent to legal rent upon lease renewal; allows increase to legal rent upon vacancy if vacancy was not caused by failure of landlord to maintain habitability.

Part I
Increases from three to six years the ownership requirement before landlords can qualify for rent increase under the alternate hardship provisions of the Omnibus Housing Act of 1983.

Part J
Reforms major capital improvement program by making MCI rent increases temporary surcharges, not to be compounded with base rent, and ending when landlord has recovered the cost of the improvement; procedural changes.

Part K
Allows a declaration of emergency for former Mitchell-Lama buildings, including those already taken out of Mitchell-Lama, prohibits rent increases based on unique or peculiar circumstances.  (This bill would not roll back rents in post-1973 buildings whose rents were already doubled and tripled when they were taken out of Mitchell-Lama.)
Click on for a fuller discussion, with a part-by-part summary.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Save the DATES: Jan. 19 - Gen. Tenants Meeting, Jan. 20 -- NYS Assembly Hearing; Jan. 27 - Town Hall, R3 Campaign

Old tenants, new tenants, young tenants & old tenants (and those in between) are invited to our
Wednesday, January 19, 2011

at 8 PM in the Community Room.
 We'll discuss 
  • the recent "U or P" victory and what it means for us
  • the Real Rent Reform Campaign's success in its NYS Assembly campaign - and the upcoming Town Hall meeting at Goddard-Riverside with many Assembly Members (Thursday, Jan. 27 from 7:00-8:30 PM,  598 Col. Ave. at 88th St.)
  • building security
and more.

Got an issue to raise?  You can contact any member of the Executive Committee and let us know, or just raise it at the meeting. 
And the next day, Jan. 20th, the NYS Assembly's Housing Committee will be holding a hearing on affordable housing - and it's our moment to speak out (to a sympathetic committee).  Click on  for details, or to register to speak.   Sue will be driving down for the hearing that begins at 1 pm - and is happy to take some neighbors.