Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summary & Update - General Tenants Meeting - September 2011

Sept. 21, 2011 Meeting Summary & Update

Building & Neighborhood
CPG Tenant Handbook --  the latest edition is available.

SCRIE - Senior citizens who are in the SCRIE program may find their accounts messed up: for some reason, the City did not pay many landlords the difference between what SCRIE tenants pay and the legal rent.  If you have a problem, contact SCRIE through 311, or call attorney Joyce Goodman at Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell's office to set up an appointment: 212-866-3970 (it's free).  
Mice: If you’ve seen them or their droppings in your apartment,

1.    Write your name on the exterminator list at the guard’s desk.
2.    If the exterminator or maintenance man just gives you traps, say you need the entry points blocked.
3.    If they don’t do it or you still find mouse droppings or other signs of rodents, contact Lu Pedraza, the building manager: 212-222-4430, lpedraza@stellarmanagement.com.

Bedbugs: If you don’t see flecks on your bed, don’t worry about bedbugs.  If you do, follow the procedure above.  If Stellar asks to inspect your apartment, let them: it could be that an apartment above or below or near yours was infested, and they want to prevent further spread.  Do not use commercial sprays yourself.  You can poison your family without killing bedbugs.

Security - Tell all delivery men they will not be allowed in unless they dial your intercom code (you can find it on the list in the entry foyer).  When they dial it, the phone number you gave to Stellar will ring, and you can talk to the person as on a regular phone call.  To let them in, press 9 and then hang up.  If the local Chinese restaurant asks for your apartment, say your code instead (for example, “1234”).  If your name is on the lease but is not listed separately on the intercom, contact Ana at 212-222-4430.

ATM in the lobby -
We were not consulted and they are not illegal in common areas of a residential building - although the mailroom would be a less conspicuous place.  The machine charges a $2 fee.  The location is obtrusive and tenants have commented that it’s tacky, giving the lobby a “convenience store” look.  The tenant association executive committee will be discussing it shortly.

Plumbing disasters – please don’t put a washing machine in your apartment!

Tenants in the S-line have had their share of disasters recently:  the roof leaked during storms, and  Tropical Storm Irene left puddles and damp walls.  

Further, the apartments below the 5th floor have been getting filthy, sudsy water (replete with hair and lint) bubbling up through their kitchen sinks - possibly from a portable washing machine in their own or neighboring lines. Unfortunately, our plumbing is not built to filter the dirty water of that magnitude, and the tenants below are suffering a health hazard. 

Parking -   Thanks to Rosa Delgado and Community Board 7 for restoring angle-parking to the east end of our block – by getting ambiguous signs removed and putting an end to ticketing for that reason.

Victories and Ongoing Battles
 “Unique or peculiar” caseTenants have won, based on a regulation & (D)HCR order denying Stellar’s 2005 application to raise the rent stabilized rent based on Gluck’s 2005 application to the state’s housing agency, Homes & Community Renewal (formerly “DHCR”).  This regulation and court decision affect 17,980 units in and around NYC.  Not bad!  But it could change for other buildings unless the state passes a statute – and not just a regulation that interprets a statute.

Redistricting -   Right now, the state legislature is determining New York State’s state and federal voting districts.  This affects tenants:  if the legislature creates a new district upstate, for example, that will give even less voice to the more-highly populated downstate area – tenants in big apartment buildings, for example.   If the legislature insists on violating recent state law and counting prisoners as “residing” in their prisons (where they can’t vote) rather than where they are from, those of us in NYC get less of a voice.  

What you can do:  Contact LATFOR (Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research & Reapportionment) and let them and Governor Cuomo know you want an independent commission that does not guarantee incumbency (as all of the last redistrictings have done). 
250 Broadway — Suite 2100
New York, NY 10007

Rent Guidelines Board - Every June, the RGB decides the percentage rent increases for lease renewals going into effect any time from the following Oct. 1st to the next Sept. 30th. 

This past June, the increases were 3.75% for a 1-year renewal, and 7.25% for a 2-year renewal.  This is among the highest in a long time. 

Worse, the state’s highest court upheld the RGB’s power to create a special “class” of tenants who will get higher increases. (When they did this in 2008, it only affected buildings that had been rent stabilized for at least 6 years.  Since ours left Mitchell-Lama in 2005, that order did not affect our building.)
So we have to work with other groups in the Real Rent Reform Campaign to keep rent increases down (including MCI’s), to keep buildings in rent-regulation, and to preserve affordable  homes for the next generation.  Steve Koulish and Na’ava Ades are our representatives to the R3 campaign so far.  Are you interested in participating?

Rent Stabilization - Rent stabilized tenants have rights, including rent reductions for service reductions, and the right to a guaranteed lease renewal.

Non-stabilized tenants have only 4 years from the date their particular apartment was taken out of rent stabilization to apply to get back in.  They can call HCR (718-739-6400) to find out the last rent stabilized rent. Then they can calculate (use Home Depot prices) the work done to renovate the apartment.  Only if 1/40th of the cost – added to 120% of the last rent stabilized - comes to $2000 should that apartment be de-regulated. (For renovations since June 2011, it must be 1/60th of the cost, bringing the rent to $2500.)  Contact the tenant association for details.

Got ideas or suggestions? Contact us!

The Executive Committee

Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Association
-    Sue Susman, president, 212-866-1616, sue[  at]  janak.org
-    Na’ava Ades, vice president, 212-666-9591, naavaa [ type the "@" sign] gmail.com
-    Joan B. Browne, treasurer, 212-864-3612, jbbrownefaison[  at  ] att.net
-    Rich Jordan, vice president, 212-866-1070, richj214[ [at]  aol.com
-    Steve Koulish, vice president, 212-866-8280, eskoolman[ type @ ] yahoo.com
-    Greg Murray, vice president, 212-866-3552, geeemurr[   at   ]aol.com


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Come to the General Tenants Meeting - Wed. Sept. 21, 2011

All tenants are welcome to the
Wed., Sept. 21, 2011
8 PM - in the Community Room

We'll talk about . . .

Victory in the "U or P" case!

Bedbugs, mice - and fighting the problems we have in common together.

Redistricting - it affects tenants!
and the HEAT SEASON  begins Oct. 1st.

- The Executive Committee
Sue Susman, sue [ at]  janak.org
Na'ava Ades, naavaa [at  ] gmail.com
Joan B. Browne, joanbbrownefaison[ @] att.net
Rich Jordan, richj214 [ at  ] aol.com
Greg Murray, geeemurr  [@  ]aol.com
Steve Koulish, eskoolman [at   ] yahoo [ dot] com

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tenant on US Musical Tour to Middle East / North Africa

Tenant - and drummer - Danny Mallon will be going on a State Department tour to bring American music to parts of the Middle East and North Africa.  See his blog.  Have a great trip!