By Sabina Mollot
The state housing agency has approved major capital improvement rent increases (MCIs) for four buildings in Peter Cooper Village that underwent exterior restoration work — and more are expected to be approved.
The Tenants Association warned neighbors about the approvals of the MCIs, previously referred to by TA President Susan Steinberg as CWCapital’s “goodbye present,” in an email blast on Sunday.
As of July, the association had heard about the MCIs being filed for 19 different buildings in Peter Cooper and Stuyvesant Town. The cost varies at different addresses, from about $1.15 to $3 per room per month.
Reached on Monday, Steinberg said the association, which did challenge the MCIs, will continue to do so.
“There are a variety of reasons,” said Steinberg. “In a couple of instances, it was past the two-year window when it should have been submitted. There was some question whether Sandy insurance money had been used for some of the work. So we are not letting it go.”
Some of the MCIs were requested as far back as August of 2014.
The TA said it plans to file a petition for administrative review (PAR) with the housing agency, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). Affected addresses so far are 2 Peter Cooper Road and 431, 441 and 541 East 20th Street.
Buildings with pending MCIs are: 601 East 20th Street and 390 First Avenue in Peter Cooper and 1, 3, 6, 8 and 10 Stuyvesant Oval, 271, 315, 319 and 321 Avenue C, 610 and 620 East 20th Street and 505 and 515 East 14th Street in Stuy Town.
Paula Chirhart, a spokesperson for Blackstone and StuyTown Property Services, said 20 building MCIs have been applied for. She declined to comment on the TA’s challenge, but said if residents have questions, they should call 212-420-5000 and ask for resident services.
Last year, when asked at a meeting if Blackstone would raise rents via MCIs, senior managing director Nadeem Meghji didn’t deny it, but insisted they would not be used as a tool to inflate rents.
“We assure you that we will stick with the spirit of the regulations and not take advantage of them,” he said.