Thursday, May 18, 2023

Summary of May 17, 2023 meeting of the Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association

Summary of the May 17, 2023 Tenant Meeting

We began with a moment of silence for our late State Senator and City Council Member Bill Perkins who died two days ago. Then we heard from City Council Member Shaun Abreu.  
He talked about: 

RIGHT TO COUNSEL: Shaun is working to get $350 million funding to ensure that the Right to Counsel in Housing Court (RTC) is a reality and not just on paper.  If you go to Housing Court and you can't get a lawyer, (1) contact the Housing Court Answers desk in the courthouse, and (2) ask the judge for an adjournment until you get a lawyer. 
  • RENT GUIDELINES BOARD: Right now, the Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) has no public hearings scheduled for Manhattan - aside from the preliminary vote and the final vote on June 21st). Shaun has co-signed a letter asking for a hearing in Manhattan, and opposing the RGB's proposed hikes of 2-5% for 1 year lease renewals and 4-7% for 2 year lease renewals.  YOU can contact the Rent Guidelines Board directly at  and tell them
    • You can't afford a big increase.
    • The RGB shouldn't rely on 2021 data since it was a pandemic year, and the real estate market has bounced back for landlords. 
    • To make the same rate of profits they made in 1990, landlords needed the RGB to increase rents 203% since then. But the RGB has actually increased rents 220%.  So even with a dip in 2021, landlords are making a higher rate of profit. 
    • COME to the rally just over the Brooklyn Bridge this Saturday at 11 AM in Cadman Plaza. (C,2, or 3 trains to Cadman Plaza East).

  • WAREHOUSING:  Shaun is a co-sponsor of Intro. 195, a bill to reduce hazards in vacant apartments.  There is a hearing on that bill on TUESDAY, JUNE 6 at 1 PM at City Hall. The Stand for Tenant Safety/End Apartment Warehousing (we're a member) will have a rally in City Hall Park just before the hearing. Come: We need a lot of people!    In addition, Shaun plans to introduce a resolution to support Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal's new bill to tax rent-regulated apartments that are vacant for 6 months or more. 
  • RATS: In order to reduce rats, the city may be putting all garbage into sealed containers on the street, rather than just black bags. There will be a pilot project of containerization between 110th and 158th Streets, with containers near every school and on 10 residential blocks.  We also talked about the difficulty of sealing existing compost bins.  That said, if all our food and garden waste goes into compost, that leaves much less to go into the trash bags that are put outside.

We also talked about: 

PAYING OUR DUES:  We've made a change in how you can contribute money to the tenant association.  Please make your contribution ($10 per apartment per year for dues and the voluntary $100 toward our legal fund) 
  • at our meetings
  • at the fundraising tables we have a few times a year in the lobby
  • or give it to our treasurer Barbara Geller in Apt. 11T. You can also slide your check under her door if she's not home. 
When tenants were giving money to floor captains, copies of the receipts sometimes got lost and it was hard to balance our books!

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY as bikes (electric or not), scooters, etc. are on the sidewalk. The email below comes from a neighbor in another building on W. 97th Street.  Shaun Abreu mentioned the possibility of requiring licenses for ebikes so that summonses can be issued. 

​From a neighbor: ​PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION!!! Pedestrians deserve safe sidewalks and streets!!
Inline image


LANDLORDS SUING TO END RENT STABILIZATION.   The associations that represent owners of rent stabilized housing have appealed to the US Supreme Court to end rent stabilization.  It's not clear that the Supreme Court will take the case. Among other things, this is a "states' rights" issue and the Second Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its decision that "the case law is exceptionally clear that legislatures enjoy broad authority to regulate land use without running afoul of the Fifth Amendment's bar on physical takings."

ALBANY BILLS. Support these by clicking "Aye" on the bill's website. 

FRANKENSTEINING: S9280B​ and A6216A.  This bill would set the first rent of any combined ("Frankensteined") apartment at the last rent stabilized rent paid, increased by the same percent as the size is increased.  It is sponsored by State Senator Brian Kavanagh (head of the Senate's housing committee), along with all the Upper West Side senators: Hoylman-Sigal, Cleare, Jackson.   In the Assembly, it is sponsored by Housing Committee chair Linda Rosenthal. 

WAREHOUSING: A4455. This bill would tax rent-regulated apartments that are held vacant for 6 months or more. DHCR would presume that any rent stabilized or rent controlled apartment that the landlord hasn't registered with the state that year is vacant. 

One reason owners are warehousing apartments is to pressure the state legislature to roll back some of the tenant protections written into a permanent law in 2019.  To accomplish that, landlord associations have drafted S.6352 in the Senate and A6772 in the Assembly.  That bill would provide for enormous rent hikes when someone moves out of a rent stabilized apartment after 10 or more years.  We have to fight this!  When Albany made the 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act permanent (the first permanent housing law in many years), they meant it.  

GOOD CAUSE: This would protect tenants who are NOT rent stabilized or rent controlled. It would offer tenants a defense in court if the landlord refuses to renew their lease and then tries to evict them, and would prevent enormous rent hikes. Governor Hochul does not support this bill, but she should.  The name stands for "No eviction without good cause."

Got questions, suggestions, or comments? Tell the Executive Committee or a Board Member of the tenant association. 


The Executive Committee of the Central Park Gardens Tenants' Association

Sue Susman, 15T, president, sue [dot]  susman (at sign) gmail .  com
Jodi Brockington, 14C, vice president, niarajb \at\ gmail {d o t] com
Barbara Geller,11T  treasurer, barbarageller39 {At} gmail |dot\ com 
Denis Hayward, 7K, vice president, denis (dot) hayward \at\ gmail {dot] com
Patricia Jordan, 4R, vice president, pjordan0711 [at) gmail/dot/  com
Steve Koulish, 12C, vice president, eskoolman ~at~ yahoo [dot} com
Ray von Dohren, 4N, vice president, vondohren \at\ comcast {dot] net

Additional Board Members:

Rosa Delgado, 2T
Ayana Dixon, 11C
Debbie Gonzalez, 15G
Alexandra Martin, 6E
Alec Merber, 10G
Letty Orellano, 8T
John "Bones" Rodriguez, 11F
Maxine Soares, 15N

Thanks to Jodi Brockington for the photo.