The Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association will hold a meeting to address five recently issued major capital improvement (MCI) rent increases on Saturday, November 2 from 1-4 p.m. at the auditorium at the Simon Baruch Middle School (MS 104) on East 20th Street between First and Second Avenues. Local elected officials are expected to attend and John Marsh, president of the Tenants Association, said there would be “ample time” for tenants to ask questions, which will be answered by the association’s attorney Tim Collins.
In October, tenants in Stuyvesant Town learned they’d gotten an MCI (major capital improvement) for video intercoms, followed by an MCI issued to residents of Peter Cooper, which was also for security upgrades, including a command center. Tenants learned about the latest round last week, via notices that the state housing agency, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) had approved MCIs for work on three more projects: water valves, doors and resurfacing. Possibly more MCIs are on the way.
Which MCIs tenants got depended on if they live in Peter Cooper or Stuyvesant Town. As far as the Tenants Association is aware, an MCI for water tanks and valves is for PCV residents only; while only Stuyvesant Town residents have gotten MCIs for resurfacing that were combined with charges for doors and water tanks/valves.
At the meeting, Collins will explain the process of appealing an MCI order and will outline what the TA’s pushback will be. He will be joined by New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh and City Council Member Dan Garodnick.
“Both longtime rent-stabilized tenants and those who recently moved in and are receiving MCIs addressed to former residents or current occupant have been swamping our message center with questions about the MCI process,” said Marsh. “We’ve put together this meeting to answer precisely those questions.”
Subjects to be covered, according to Marsh, include: What constitutes an MCI? Why are tenants getting such a flood of MCIs at once? How do the retroactive and prospective payments work? Is there any way to put an end to paying MCIs in perpetuity? Why is there a per room charge when, for example, there is outdoor resurfacing work? Why should tenants have to pay if the improvement in question is faulty or doesn’t work?
“We have long understood that an owner needs to improve their property, but it must not be at the expense of long-term affordability,” said Marsh in an official statement. “When a co-op/condo owner is assessed for an improvement, they are assessed only once, not for the rest of their tenancy. Renters on the other hand are forced to pay forever for something that is depreciable.”
An opportunity to sign a document association with the association’s petition for administrative review (PAR) can be signed at the meeting. The association is also asking tenants to share their docket numbers and Google documents are available for this purpose through links on the association’s website at stpcvta.org. Additionally, the group is soliciting donations to help pay its looming legal bills for the MCI challenges.