NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Elected officials joined Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village tenants Wednesday to protest what they call sudden and extreme mid-lease rent increases.
More than 1,000 residents said they were told Tuesday that their rents would be going up on June 1 with increases ranging anywhere from $100 to over $900 a month.
“I received a notice raising my rent 21 percent,” one tenant told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “I cannot afford this rent increase.”[cbs-audio url=”http://cbsnewyork.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/stuy-town-3-dauria-w41-soc-mcmorrow.mp3″ size=”340″ download=”false” name=”Stuy-Town/Peter Cooper Village Tenants, Lawmakers Protest Mid-Lease Rent Increases” artist=”1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria”]
“This is a money-grab and the cavalier attitude that the management company has towards its residents is deplorable,” said another tenant.
John Marsh, president of the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Tenants Association, said management company CWCapital slipped notices under tenants’ doors telling them they had two weeks to agree to the increases or move.
“Instead of going on summer vacation, families will be spending their vacations looking for new housing and schools for their children to attend,” he said.
A spokesman for CWCapital said they were acting in accordance with the terms of a deal reached in court.
In 2009, the state’s highest court upheld a tenant lawsuit. It charged that thousands of apartments had been illegally removed from rent stabilization by the previous owner, Tishman-Speyer.
Bondholders, led by CWCapital, then took over the property. In November, they were granted permission to raise rents on almost 4,000 units.
Shortly before noon, CWCapital agreed to give tenants an extra 30 days, extending the deadline from June 1 to July 1, D’Auria reported.
But lawmakers earlier Wednesday called on CWCapital to halt the mid-lease increases all together and instead offer new rents at the end of the lease terms.
“Give people notice, give them time, phase in their rent bumps, be merciful here,” Councilman Dan Garodnick told 1010 WINS. “You’re talking about families and not just dollar signs so we want them to do the right thing and pull this back.”
“Raising the rent mid-lease-term is unfair to the tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and it will place a heavy burden on these middle-class families and individuals,” Sen. Charles Schumer said. “I am urging CWCapital to immediately reconsider this decision.”
“Hiking rent in the middle of a lease is a craven move that will further jeopardize the affordability of Stuy-Town and Peter Cooper Village,” said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. “CWCapital is making an enormous mistake that will hurt hardworking, middle class families. Legal fine print shouldn’t trump basic decency.”
In addition, Garodnick said leasing agents told potential residents that their rents would not be raised mid-lease.
“Leasing agents had told residents or future residents not to worry about fine print in their leases, telling them that if they were to sign the lease, the landlord would not voluntarily raise their rent in the middle of the lease term,” he said.
Garodnick said tenants are now asking the Attorney General to investigate.
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