Thursday, June 16, 2011

Summary of General Tenants Meeting May 11, 2011

May 11, 2011 – with Updates to June 16, 2011!

The backyard looks great! Thanks to Barbara Geller, Lora Kahn and Helen Merber for plantings in the backyard. 

Their gardening enhanced the Pot Luck Party on June 4th – until the rain drove some folks indoors again.  Thanks to Maxine Soares, Debbie Gonzalez and Lydia Pitsirilos for a wonderful party.  Please check the mailroom board and this website  for thanks to all the people who made it great!

The vacancy on our advisory Board has been filled by floor captain Marlene Melton. 
Photo provided by Marlene Melton
There were originally two candidates: Sheila Friedling  and Marlene, but Sheila deferred to Marlene.  With only one seat and only one candidate, Marlene won by acclamation. All floor captains are invited to Board meetings – whether or not they’re officially on the board.  The next BOARD meeting will be October 12, 2011. 

We mourn the passing of our neighbor Floyd Torrence, and give our condolences to his wife Linda Tyler.

The Real Rent Reform Campaign has been working hard – but as of the date of this writing,
Albany negotiations continue.  The rent laws expired but tenants with leases are protected, and NYSHCR (the agency that has replaced DHCR) promised to protect tenants if harassed by their landlords.  The State Senate wants weaker rent laws, the Assembly and the Governor want stronger protections – and the Governor has said he’ll keep the Senate in Albany until a law is passed.

The rent laws have gotten worse (aside from Albany) with a decision by the state’s highest court, Casado v. Markus.  The court ruled that the Rent Guidelines Board may create special categories of renters to get higher increases.  In 2008, they said a rent stabilized tenant whose rent was under $1000 and who had lived in that apartment for 6 years or more had to pay a flat dollar increase that was higher than the percentage increase for other tenants.  We don’t know what they’ll do this year – but they’ve proposed :
  • 1-year lease renewal increase of 3.25% to 5.75%
  • 2-year lease renewal increase of 6.5% to 9%!!
  • AND an additional possible one-time “fuel adjustment” of 1% increase that would not be considered in calculating future increases.
The RGB's vote this June applies to  tenants whose lease renewals go into effect any time from October 1, 2011 through September 30, 2012.
Come to the RGB hearings.  The final vote is June 27, 2011 starting at 5:30 PM at Cooper Union’s Great Hall in the basement.  There is a rally to protest high increases starting at 4:30 PM at 7 E. 7th St. (3rd Ave. /Astor Place). 

Joan Browne gave a financial report.  Our bank account is doing better thanks to people donating to our legal fund ($100/ apt.) and paying membership dues ($25/apt.  for new tenants and $10/apt. thereafter).

Stellar has filed an appeal seeking more money under the Major Capital Improvement (MCI) for submetering.  Our attorney filed a response.  We think we’ll win.

Eligible for the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) or the Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE)?  Rent stabilized tenants who are eligible should apply now! It will freeze your rent at its current level (or 1/3 of your income - whichever is higher).

SCRIE:  Tenant on lease is 62 or older, household income is no more than $29,000, and tenant is paying at least 1/3 of income in rent – or will be with new lease renewal. Contact One-Stop  (Amsterdam between 96th and 97th St. above Associated), 212-864-7900   or Goddard-Riverside on 89th & Columbus, 212-873-6600.

DRIE:  Tenant is disabled according to the government, household income is no more than $19,284 (single-person household) or $27,780 (for households of two or more members); and tenant is paying at least 1/3 of income in rent  - or will be with new lease renewal. Contact Joyce Goodman at Assembly Member O’Donnell’s office (212-866-3970).

Submetering: If you haven’t filed your papers yet, do it.  It takes about a year to come through. Contact Sue. 

Building issues: 
  • Mice: Write your name in the book for an exterminator.  If the exterminator comes a second time, insist he seal off the pipe behind the stove and the pipe under the sinks, and any other entry points.
  • Try to avoid smoking directly in front of the building – and please, no butts on the ground
  • Bedbugs: If you think you have them, call Stellar to inspect.  Stellar will send an exterminator to all surrounding apartments without mentioning your name.  Let’s nip this in the bud.

Come to our next General Tenants Meeting on September 14, 2011 – and contact any member of the Executive Committee (or your floor captain) with questions and suggestions.


The Executive Committee

Sue Susman,  sue [at sign]
Na’ava Ades,  naavaa [at sign  ]
Joan Browne,  jbbrownefaison[  at sign]
Rich Jordan, rich214 [  at  sign]
Steve Koulish,eskoolman[ at   sign  ]
Greg Murray, geeemurr [use at sign]