Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Summary of Jan. 21, 2015 General Tenants Meeting

Notices: Electrical Submetering Rights

Our building has electrical submetering: we pay Stellar Management directly for electricity – including a monthly administrative fee. This January, Stellar sent each tenant a notice of our rights if there is a dispute about our submetering bill.  If you are a senior (62 or older) or disabled, or require electrical medical equipment in your home, you can protect yourself against Stellar shutting off the electricity in case of a dispute about billing.  Fill out the form, make a copy for yourself, and send the original by certified mail, return receipt requested, to Stellar’s office.  If you do not fit into any of the protected categories, just keep the notice.

Nick Prigo, Chair of Community Board 7’s Housing Committee, District Leader for the 69/B Assembly District, and a regular trainer for the 32BJ union’s Training Fund on green buildings, spoke to a full Community Room about what’s going on in our district.   Nick pointed out that while most tenants think of our apartments as homes and parts of a community,  landlords view our apartments as profit-making commodities.  That leads to a disconnect:  We need vacancy deregulation repealed so we can continue to have affordable apartments for the next generation, but landlords don’t want any rent regulation.

Nick spoke of Illegal hotels (such as many AirBnB rentals), a big issue in the Community
Board 7 area.  NY law bars anyone from renting out an apartment for under 30 days. (You’re allowed to rent out a room while you are present in the apartment, and you can have a roommate or family member live with you, and others stay with you for a few days.)  Roughly a third of AirBnB rentals in New York City are by owners – people who rent out many apartments and do it for their living.  Since that’s a lot more profitable than renting out apartments for a month or more, landlords are motivated to cheat.  Instead of renting vacant apartments for actual residents, owners often prefer to run the apartments as illegal hotels.   That means many fewer apartments available for those of us who actually live in NYC. 

If you notice LOTS of people coming in and out of an apartment on your floor – and no regular tenant living there, please let us know.

Nick also talked a bit about 421-a – a tax break that is supposed to foster the construction of affordable housing, but instead gives our tax money to millionaires to build luxury developments – with only a handful of affordable apartments to show for it.   The City has lost about $1.1 billion a year, and tax money has recently gone to billionaire developers.  (The Daily News says, “The feds are now probing how One57, an ultra-luxe Midtown building where the penthouse sold for $100 million, scored a tax break for $35 million.”)

The Community Board’s “land use” committee deals with construction and development, so you can contact them for information on the status of the conversion of the church on Central Park West between 96th and 97th Street to condos, and on the proposal to tear down 3 small buildings on West 96th Street next to the church and build a tall apartment tower.

$$  We encourage all tenants to join the Tenant Association ($10/apartment each year) and to contribute toward our legal funds as we try to make and keep this building affordable and a great community.  Contact your floor captain or treasurer Joan Browne to donate.


Got questions or suggestions?  Let us know! 

The Executive Committee

-          Sue Susman, president, sue  AT janak d o t   org
-          Na’ava Ades, vice president,  naavaa  (at)  gmail (dot)   com
-          Joan Browne, treasurer,  jbbrownefaison[ AT] att (dot  )net
-          Denis Hayward, vice president,  hayden {@} nyc{dot}rr{  dot}com
-          Rich Jordan, vice president,  richj214 aol  com
-          Steve Koulish,  eskoolman   AT  yahoo  D  O  T  com
-          Ray Von Dohren,  vondohren [@  ] Comcast[   d  o  t]net