Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Summary of March 14, 2014 General Tenants Meeting

New Tenants Have New Rights
As of Jan. 8, 2014, new tenants moving into what was a rent stabilized apartment have the right to know the last rent stabilized rent, how the owner claims it was de-regulated, and if the tenant asks within 60 days of moving in, get the documentation supporting the owner’s claim of improvement costs. That’s important if the new tenant wants to try to get the apartment back into rent stabilization – and fight an overcharge!

Stabilized Tenants Have to Renew Leases When Due

The law used to be that if you forgot to renew your lease, it was automatically renewed for one year.  That is no longer true.  If you forget to renew your lease, you will find a notice taped to your door saying Stellar can take you to court for remaining past your last lease.  Make sure to sign the apartment renewal lease (not just the garage renewal lease) and return 2 copies by certified mail, return receipt requested to Stellar.  You have just 60 days from getting the renewal to do it.  Stellar then has 30 days to return it to you.  You can TELL A MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE YOUR LEASE RENEWAL DATE IF YOU WANT A REMINDER NEXT TIME. 

Front Door Security
If your intercom doesn’t work or if you find people at your apartment door never having called upstairs about it, write it on a requisition slip at the doorman’s desk.  Stellar is now collecting phone numbers to go with the intercoms, so make sure to provide yours. 

Rent Freeze? 

Mayor de Blasio promised to try to get a rent freeze by the next Rent Guidelines Board. Of the 9-person board (2 tenant reps, 2 landlord reps, 4 public reps) with staggered terms of service, this Mayor gets to appoint the chair, 2 tenant representatives and one public representative.  The RGB sets renewal increases (or not!) each June for leases that are renewed any time for 1 year starting Oct. 1. 

Tenants are planning a rally at 9 AM on March 27, 2014 (the first RGB hearing this year) at the Municipal Building at 1 Centre St., and then will pressure on the Mayor and the board. 

Is the Landlord Taking You to Court? 
Please tell someone on the Executive Committee. We can refer you to a lawyer (free if you qualify, or paid), and we need to know what Stellar is up to – so we can tell the powers-that-be. 

We mourn the passing of Felix Fibich, age 96, and offer our condolences to his companion Jaya Pulami Magar. See the NY Times obituary. 

Photo provided by Patricia Jordan
Speaker:  Pat Jordan
Pat joined the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in September 1983.  She worked as the Director of Tenant Support Services, Division of Property Management’s Management and Disposition, Office of Housing Operations from when the Unit was established in the 1980’s up until 2009.  She has been involved in Tenant Support Services protecting tenants from unsafe living conditions or displacement from fires, city-issued vacates orders, and eminent domain projects. That includes finding them new homes and helping them adjust to their new environments, including rental subsidies, social services, moving services, and more. In 2009 she became director of a unit specializing in HPD’s emergency shelter system and the Homeless Rental Unit.  More recently, she became director of a unit supporting low-income tenants working to own their buildings as co-ops once the buildings are rehabilitated. In the meantime, Hurricane Sandy struck, and Pat volunteered to manage the Medical Needs Shelter established at John Jay College.

Aside from HPD, Pat volunteered for Black Citizens for a Fair Media for over 25 years. That group wants to portray minorities positively throughout society and encourage equitable hiring throughout the industry. She is also a member of the Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media, creating access for minority youth to enter the industry.  With little else to do (!) Pat has written articles on minority youth, urban high schools, and the homeless.   And before joining HPD, Pat was Assistant to the Deputy Schools Chancellor, a consultant to the Economic Development Council of NYC, a Community Relations Specialist for the US Department of Justice, a Researcher and Lecturer at Hunter College’s Dept. of Planning & Urban Affairs, and more. 

The Community Room was full, with a rapt audience as Pat spoke about becoming an activist at a young age – marching against the war in Vietnam, fighting for civil rights in the Justice Department, and finding herself working for the NYC government in HPD.  There, she developed programs as she saw the need for them.  In the context of equal rights and opportunities for all, she has always worked to ensure that people with few resources get more, that those who need support get it.  We’re lucky to have her as a tenant, a floor captain, and a speaker.

Come to our next meeting,  
Wed., May 14, 2014, to hear a representative of the NYC Fire Department.   


The Executive Committee
Sue Susman, president, sue [at sign] janak.org
Na’ava Ades, vice president/sec’y, naavaa [at symbol] gmail.com
Joan Browne, vice preident/treas., jbbrownefaison [@ sign] att.net
Rich Jordan, vice president, richj214 [at symbol] aol.com
Steve Koulish, vice president, eskoolman (at) yahoo (dot   ) com
Greg Murray, vice president, gregmurray866(  "at" sign )  gmail.com