Friday, September 17, 2021

Summary of the SEPT. 14, 2021 Tenant Meeting

Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association
Summary of the September 14, 2021 Meeting

We met in the backyard on a lovely evening, surrounded by flickering tea lights (battery of course) and lots of good feelings are we saw neighbors in person and smiled through our masks.  

Remembering

We began with a moment of silence for tenants who have died since the last in-person meeting, including Abe Pitsirilos, Naomi Kelly, Louis Gonzalez and Jerome Nemzer.  And one for 9/11 – with thanks to heroes who are very much alive, like Denise Rivera who drove her MTA bus down and back to ferry people away from the World Trade Center that day. 

Financial Report

Treasurer Joan Browne reported on our current bank account and contributions. If you haven’t renewed your $10 membership this year, or contributed anything to our legal fund – now’s the time. Make your check out to the Central Park Gardens Tenants’ Assoc. and get it to Joan in Apt. 12F. (Please don’t leave cash under the door! If you’re contributing in cash, make sure you get a receipt.)

 Building issues

MCI: If you get any papers from the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) about a Major Capital Improvement rent increase for the balcony and fa├žade work, please contact Sue immediately. We haven’t heard anything yet.  This directly affects only rent stabilized tenants.

Pedestrian safety: Thanks to Cynthia Hanratty for her dogged pursuit of safety mirrors at the exit to our garage. Drivers, please use them to keep all passers-by safe.

 Personal safety: We have immune-compromised tenants in the building. So even if they get vaccinated (and they should get 3 doses!), they remain vulnerable. Please wear a mask. In addition to masks being required by Stellar and protecting yourself, it shows consideration for your neighbors.

If you can afford it, carry a couple of disposable masks with you to offer to anyone who forgets theirs.

 Meanwhile, “The unvaccinated are a big highway of transmission. The vaccinated are a little side street.” (Dr. William Schaffner, prof. of infectious disease at Vandrbilt University.)  So please get off that big highway: get vaccinated!  It’s free and you can get it at the local pharmacy. 

Some NY City, CVS, and other vaccine sites offer rewards as well.

Cameras and smoke detectors in the stairwells: Cynthia Hanratty and Ray Carroll will look into whether Stellar has or must provide working smoke detectors in the stairwells and whether cameras are possible – and their cost.  

Politics

We have a new governor: Kathy Hochul.  She has picked our state senator, Brian Benjamin, as her Lieutenant Governor. That means that we will have a special election (this November 2, 2021) to replace him. The Democratic candidate will be chosen by the party’s county committee, rather than with a primary election.  Our neighbor Helen Merber is member of that very large committee.)

Warehousing and “Frankensteined” apartments

The 2019 state rent law bars landlords from taking apartments (occupied or empty) out of rent stabilization.  To pressure the legislature to change the law and to increase the shortage of apartments, many landlords responded by saying they wouldn’t rent out empty stabilized apartments.  CHIP, an association of landlords of rent stabilized apartments, said last year there were 70,000 warehoused rent stabilized apartments.  Meanwhile there are 60 to 90,000 homeless in NY – many of them working families - and lots of us have friends and family looking for affordable homes.  But warehousing is also a way for landlords to exploit a loophole in the 2019 law.  If landlords create a new apartment out of two or more units, the Frankensteined apartment has a new base rent.  And there’s no easy way to regulate what that new starting rent is.

The End Apartment Warehousing coalition and other groups are working with our state legislators to close that loophole.  We want the new rent to be the last rent of each apartment + the $81 that landlords are allowed to add for individual apartment improvements. Stellar Tenants for Affordable Housing is part of that group, and you can join in the every-other-week Tuesday meetings on zoom. Ask Sue for the link.

 

Rent issues?













If you can’t afford your rent because of the pandemic (your work was cut, or were ill, or were caring for a sick relative), apply for the
NYS Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). You can’t be evicted while your application is pending, and if the state grants your application, it will pay up to a year’s worth of rent and electricity for the past and up to 3 months going forward.  It must be done on line, so if you don’t have a computer, call Goddard Riverside’s West Side Law Project, 212-799-9638.

Also, Gov. Hochul convened a special session of the State Legislature to pass a renewal of the eviction moratorium since so many people remain unable to pay their rents. The moratorium now expires on January 15, 2022.  This means that while the landlord can’t evict you for nonpayment during that period, you will still owe the money due – and the landlord can get a judgment against you in court.  (You can still be evicted if the court finds you created a nuisance – like loud noise.)  Given the US Supreme Court’s recent ruling on the previous moratorium, tenants who file a hardship declaration can now be challenged to prove their hardship in housing court, but they can and should get a free lawyer. (Thanks, Right to Counsel NYC and Council Member Mark Levine!)

 If you’re having other difficulties with the landlord, contact a member of the Executive Committee of the tenant association. Our names and contact information are below.

 Got questions or comments?

If you’re not already on the tenant association email list, please send your email to sue.susman@gmail.com. Your email address won’t show to anyone else.  And check out our website, www.cpgta.org, and our Facebook page, CPG Tenants.

Contact us with your suggestions and questions and join the tenant association!  

Dues: $10/apartment/year. 

Legal fund:  $100/yearly (as you can afford)

 _____

 The Executive Committee of the CPGTA: 

 Sue Susman, sue dot susman (at) gmail {dot}com

Joan Browne, joanbrownefaison  [at] gmail \dot\ com

Andrew Dubin, ardubin (AT) gmail |dot| com

Denis Hayward, denis{dot]hayward at gmail /dot/ com

Steve Koulish, eskoolman [aT] yahoo (dot) com

Ray von Dohren, vondohren [At] comcast {dot} net