Sunday, December 1, 2013

Protect Yourself as a Tenant!

PROTECT YOURSELF AS A TENANT! 

Owners like Larry Gluck of Stellar Management make a LOT of money from market-rate apartments.   To do that, they have to get rid of the tenants paying affordable rents.  That hurts our community and deprives current and future residents of affordable homes.   So Stellar’s attorneys at Kossoff and Unger are calling tenants (even on Thanksgiving weekend) with a “carrot” (a small amount of money to find another home) and a “stick” (a reason they might go after you legally).  

STELLAR OFFERS MONEY TO GET YOU TO LEAVE YOUR APARTMENT
The money is never enough to live on and much less than Stellar will be getting for your apartment.  If you want to stay in your apartment, contact us.  If you would be willing to move for enough money, negotiate through a lawyer or representative. Click on “read more” below for details. 

STELLAR THREATENS TO TAKE YOU TO COURT OR NOT RENEW YOUR LEASE


  • Do you own property  elsewhere or travel? It’s ok if you live here 183 days or more each year.  Keep records!
  • Pay your rent on the 1st of the month, or get help with it.
  • Roommates are ok – but tell Stellar if they’re here 30 days or more.
  • If you’re trying to get a lease in your own name after the person named on the lease leaves, contact us!
Keep a copy of your lease and rent bills, and CONTACT US.

Click on "read more" for details. 


HOW STELLAR IS TRYING  TO GET PEOPLE OUT 
and HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

STELLAR'S LAWYERS OFFER MONEY TO GET YOU TO LEAVE YOUR APARTMENT:  The money they offer is never enough to find another affordable place to live for the rest of your life, and is far below the profit they will reap.  Stellar is asking $4800/month market-rate rent for a two-bedroom apartment (advertised for Apt. 9F now). So Stellar will recoup $57,600 in just one year – or $576,000 in 10 years.    So the $30,000 to $50,000 they may be offering you to leave is chicken feed (at least to them), and not enough for you to find a new home.  Where do you want to live and how much will it cost over 10 years?  If you want to stay in your affordable home, contact us!  If you are ready to leave for money, get a lawyer or other person to negotiate on your behalf.  

STELLAR IS THREATENING TO TAKE YOU TO COURT (and possibly not renew your lease). 

a. “Non-primary residence”:  Landlords try to get rid of rent-regulated tenants who spend a lot of time out of town or own other property anywhere.  But you are allowed to live in a rent stabilized apartment and own property elsewhere – as long as you live here at least 183 days/year (6 months + 1 day).  Keep documents showing how many days you are physically in your apartment and why you are out of town (medical or health reasons, military, college, visiting or taking care of relatives, etc.).  Credit card and phone bills, doctor’s appointments and similar items show you’re actually spending time here.  A statement from your employer showing your work days in this area would also be useful.   A landlord can only bring this case in the context of your lease renewal.  

b. Non-payment or Pattern of Late Payments :  Pay your rent by the first of the month.   If you get a notice that Stellar is taking you to court, CALL A FREE LAWYER (e.g. Joyce Goodman in the office of Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell, 212-866-3970) or go to LawHelp/NY and type in your zip code, find a lawyer, and housing (eviction).  Don't wait.  If the landlord brings you to court for not paying (or repeatedly paying late), look for a family member or charity to give you one month's rent so you can catch up.  

c. Retaliation or harassment: It’s illegal for a landlord to harass tenants to get them to move out.  Document any complaints you've filed about problems in your building or individual unit, and keep track of whether Stellar later refused to renew your lease or took you to court for not paying your rent on time or creating a nuisance. TELL THE TENANT ASSOCIATION.  The landlord might be harassing you and your neighbors similarly.  We can fight this better together. 

d. Unregistered person living with you:  If someone is living with you - as a family member, companion, or roommate, for 30 days or more at a stretch, let the landlord know by letter, and on the lease renewal page that asks for the household composition - or use DHCR Form 23.5 if you want the person to be able to take over the apartment if you leave.  Having a roommate is allowed, but you must notify the owner and may not charge the person more than a "proportionate" share of the rent.

THE LANDLORD WON’T LET YOU TAKE OVER THE APARTMENT LEASE WHEN THE PRIMARY TENANT HAS LEFT 

To take over ("succeed to") the lease which was in the name of someone who left, be prepared to provide Stellar (and probably a lawyer) with documents that show:

1.  THIS IS WHERE YOU LIVE
·            All your voting, bank, tax, and recent education records, driver's license, credit card and phone bills show this address.
  •    Your phone is used from this address, and bills – and whatever else you can think of - come here.



2.  YOU HAVE LIVED HERE FOR AT LEAST THE PAST 2 YEARS (if you're a senior or disabled, only 1 year) WITH the person named on the original lease.

3. YOU ARE RELATED TO (OR LIVED IN A FAMILY-LIKE RELATIONSHIP WITH) the original person named on the lease who has left.  You can use birth, marriage, and domestic partner certificates, photographs, religious and other records showing the relationship.

4. FORMS (if you can):  The primary tenant filed DHCR Form 23.5 stating that you live in the apartment, and your name appeared on recent lease renewals as a resident in the apartment. 

_____________________________________________________
The bottom line:  You’re not the only one in the building facing this, so contact the Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Association (any executive committee member).  Let’s fight it together.

Central Park Gardens Executive Committee
-    Sue Susman, 212-866-1616,
sue [at]  janaK [dot] org
-       Na’ava Ades, 212-666-9591, naavaa  @  gmail [dot] com
-       Joan Browne, 212-864-3612, jbbrownefaison  [at]  att [dot ]  net
-       Rich Jordan, 212-866-1070, richj214 [ at   ]  aol  [dot com] 
-       Steve Koulish, 212-866-8280, eskoolman  [at  ]  yahoo.com
-       Greg Murray, 212-866-3552, gregmurray   866  @   gmail.com