Rent abatement waiver isn’t unfair
To the editor,
Public Advocate DeBlasio and the Tenants Association are seeking headlines by belittling CW Capital’s decision to grant a 15 percent rent reduction, in exchange for a promise not to be sued for losses related to the hurricane.
This is surprising, because tenants have nothing to lose by signing the waiver – and everything to gain.
The maximum damages any tenant could recover in a lawsuit would be the rent such tenant paid during the period in which their apartment did not have power. Management could contest this argument, noting that most tenants had running water and flashlights.
Moreover, suing management would take three to five years, and legal fees could consume up to a third of any recovery.
With 11,000 tenants in ST/PCV, including hundreds of attorneys, there are bound to be a few lawyers who will try to trick tenants into believing they could recover more than they were due. But let’s review the results of the Roberts litigation – which took five years and mainly enriched only the lawyers.
Moreover, if a class action were to be initiated against CW Capital, it would throw yet another wrench into the process leading to a non-eviction condo conversion of the property. A large, outstanding litigation against the property could cause our partner Brookfield Management to have a change of heart, and could spook any financing partners Brookfield would bring to the table.
A more prudent and ethical course for our neighbors is to gracefully accept the rent abatement and to say “thank you.” It would be far more constructive to sign the waiver and acknowledge that CW in fact did heroic work in restoring power after the unprecedented violence of the storm.
Rather than advise a rent strike, the Tenants Association should recall that civility is never a sign of weakness.
Name withheld, ST