Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Summary of General Tenants Meeting March 13, 2013

MARCH 13, 2013

Included below - two events for THURSDAY, MARCH 21: 

- 6:30 PM Frederick Douglass Houses and NYCHA's plans to privatize public land 
- 7-9 PM, come to the Community Room if you have questions about your March 2013 rent bill and the MCI.

I.  Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's aide Rebecca Godlewicz came and spoke about what's happening at Frederick Douglass Houses and other NYCHA developments.  (Sue also talked about it, and the information below comes from a combination of both presentations.)

What's happening?   NYCHA (the NYC Housing Authority, which administers federally-subsidized housing in city developments) is planning to lease publicly-owned land to private developers to build luxury housing.  (20% of the housing would have to be "affordable.")   That land is now playgrounds, parking lots and gardens.  (Interestingly, when the tall buildings were constructed, it was on the premise that they could be tall BECAUSE there was all the open space around it - space kids need to play on to avoid obesity, and that older people need for parks and recreation.)

Why? The stated  purpose is to increase revenue for NYCHA since the federal, state, and city budgets have included less and less over time for public housing.

Sue's perspective: This is a parting gift from Mayor Bloomberg to his real estate buddies.  Privatizing public property is a Bloomberg hallmark.

BP Scott Stringer's perspective: This hasn't been done following the correct protections and procedures, and more protections should be put in place to ensure community involvement.

If you're concerned, come to a meeting and sign a petition 

  • THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013
  • 6:30 PM
  • at the Children's Aid Society (104th on the east side of Columbus).

Read more about it at <>.

Specifially for Frederick Douglass Houses, NYCHA is planning to build 3 residential buildings, with 80% of the apartments going for whatever the market will bear, and 20% for families whose incomes (for a family of 4) are about $48,000.

The entrances would face out - away from the NYCHA houses and are proposed for:

West 104th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus (Parking Lot)
West 100th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus (Parking Lot, Garden
and Play Area)
Manhattan Avenue between West 101st & 102nd Streets (Parking Lot)

II.  The MCI (Major Capital Improvement) increase of $1.39/room for rent stabilized tenants. 
The explanation below is a LITTLE DIFFERENT from what was handed out at the meeting since there has been a new development since then. 

If you still have a question about your March 2013 rent bill, go to our Community Room on THURSDAY, MARCH 21 between 7 and 9 PM to show your bill to one of our board members and figure out what's going on. 

Board Member Ray VonDohren explained this.


SEPT. 2012

Elevator renovation

DHCR granted MCI increase of $7.67 per room each month, and 10 month’s of retroactive payments.


Brickwork on façade

Stellar withdrew application

DHCR denied MCI

DHCR reconsidered and raised our MCI to $9.06 per room each month.  That is an increase of $1.39 per room each month forever – unless we win our appeal.


1 bedroom =  3 rooms. 3 x $1.39 = $4.17

2 bedrooms= 4 rooms. 4 x $1.39 = $5.56

3 bedrooms= 5 rooms. 5 x $1.39 = $6.96

The tenant association has appealed this increase – but in the meantime, we have to pay it.   If we win, we will get the money back.


Because Stellar got the DHCR order in September 2012, it was originally allowed to start adding the MCI permanent increase to our rents as of October 1, 2012.  But it didn’t.  So the March 2013 rent bills included the retroactive amount just for October 2012 through January 2013, which is

4 months   x   $1.39  x  3 room (1 bedroom) =     $16.68

4 months   x   $1.39  x  4 room (2 bedrooms) =   $22.24

4 months   x   $1.39  x  5 room (3 bedrooms) =   $27.80

This October 2012-January 2013 amount that was in the March 2013 rent bill is ON TOP OF the permanent base rent increase, and is a one-time payment toward the full retroactive amount that DHCR says is due. (If we win, we'll get it back.)


Stellar claims it could have started charging us the MCI as of February 2011 - because the state housing agency (DHCR) order says the rent increase is "COLLECTIBLE" as of February 1, 2011.  Our lawyer is not persuaded, but we agreed that it's not worth fighting about.

The RETROACTIVE amount that goes from February 2011 through September 2012.  That's 20 months.    Stellar has decided to divide the total amount due into 5 equal parts.   Each month for 5 months (beginning May 2013) you will see one of those 5 parts added to your rent bill. 

For a 3 room (1 bedroom) apt.:  3 x 1.39 = 4.17/month     4.17 x 20 months = $83.40
Divided into 5 monthly payments:  each payment will be  $16.68  (it could be a little more if you've had a lease renewal in the interim).

For a 4 room (2 bedroom) apt:   4 x 1.39 = 5.56/month     5.56 x 20 months= $111.20
Divided into 5 monthly payments: each payment will be  $22.24.  (It could be a little more if you've had a lease renewal in the interim.)

For a 5 room (3 bedroom) apt:   5 x 1.39 = 6.95/month     6.95 x 20 months = $139.00
Divided into 5 monthly payments: each payment will be $27.80.  (It could be a little more if you've had a lease renewal in the interim.)

 If the "MCI retro" amount on your rent bill is very different, contact Stellar!.


Na'ava Ades explained that we have had a few instances of tenants who fell ill (or passed away), who had given no emergency contact to the super.  When that has happened, the police have sometimes been called to break down the door.  That results in an enormous bill to tenants, and a lot of unnecessary concern.  With an emergency contact number, the super or guard may be able to verify that the tenant is not in fact at home - or be able to have that person open the door if there is a problem.  And if the police are called,  an emergency contact number of a close family member or friend can make it easier for them to find out if the tenant has a particular medical issue.

Please leave a spare key for your apartment with a trusted near-by friend or family member or neighbor or super Carlos Martinez - and make sure Carlos has the name and phone number of your "emergency contact." 

If you choose to include more information on your emergency card, that's up to you.  The filled-out cards are kept in a locked cupboard in Carlos' office.  You can pick up a blank card from Carlos in his office on the ground floor. 


Joan Browne provided a full treasurer's report.  If you haven't paid your $10 apartment dues for 2013, please do it now.  Also appreciated:  your $100 contribution (or whatever you can afford) toward our legal fund.  We represent all tenants in trying to get the best for our building - and often that requires paying our lawyer!


- The Executive Committee
Sue Susman, sue [ at ] janak [dot ] org
Na'ava Ades, naavaa [AT ] gmail [ DOT ] org
Joan Browne, jbbrownefaison [ @] att [ Dot] net [d o t ] com
Rich Jordan, richj214 [@ sign] aol [ . ] c o m 
Steve Koulish, eskoolman [ aT ] yahoo [dOt  ] com
Greg Murray, gregmurray [ @  ]aol  [DOt]  c  o  m