Letters to the Editor, May 2

Rowdy tenants need to be reined in

Stuyvesant Town has become a pub crawl every Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights into the wee hours of the morning. Living at 19 Stuyvesant Oval has its perks as from 1:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. from two to six young people, “twenty-somethings,” make their way home, screaming, shouting, cursing, talking and singing loud, like it’s Santacon or Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Studies show that young people, age 18 to 29, go through a stage of life called “emerging adulthood,” as they make choices that will define their adult lives.  Is the current management enabling these rowdy adults to have arrested development at our expense?

This disturbance of the peace wakes me and my family up each night and I’m sure it has a deleterious impact on all the hard working tenants, parents who have put their kids to sleep, senior citizens who suffer from a multitude of illnesses, who once awakened find it difficult to regain sleep.

There are numerous studies that depict how sleep deprivation leads to stress and illness.

Can security deploy its troops to meet these twenty-somethings at all the entrances by First Avenue and 20th street or 14th Street and escort them until they reach their apartments, instructing them to treat paths to the Oval like a hospital quiet zone. If they are rowdy, names should be taken and they should be evicted for disturbing the peace.

A show of force is required to demonstrate that you are going to control this form of abuse to “older-than-twenty-somethings.”  If you are going to lease apartments to students you must also take some compensatory measures to monitor their behavior.  I know a number of college graduates who were raised in this community and are aware of its unique value.

On the Stuy Town Peter Cooper website, management advertises how STPC is pet friendly.  How about being decent citizen/tenant/ human friendly? Did you miss the young man one night who screamed three times at the top of his lungs (because it was too quiet?) or another guy who belted out the song “Downtown” by Petula Clark as if he were auditioning for the Voice or American Idol?  Clearly not appropriate at 3:30 a.m.

Security officers need to be on the scooter or in cars with the windows down or walking the beat at these hours, not asleep in the security booth.  I hope that our security officers are not “asleep at the wheel” when it comes to meeting the needs of the majority of residents in our community.

Which brings up another issue:  Are the paths around the Oval and in the community a sidewalk for pedestrians or a street for automobiles?

I have logged hundreds of times that I have been almost run down by security cars drag racing, careening bulldozers, maintenance carts, bicycles, motorbikes, scooters and skateboards, all while being just one of the hundreds of men, women and children pedestrians in our community daring to walk on what we might take for sidewalks each and every day.

Name withheld, ST

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Letters to the Editor, Mar. 21

What is legal basis for rent reduction policy?

The following letter was written by several East Side elected officials to Darryl C. Towns, commissioner and CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal on the housing agency’s policy towards rent reductions for losses of services like those experienced in Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village. (The letter, though addressed to the HCR, refers to it as DHCR, its predecessor agency.)

Dear Commissioner Towns:

We are writing to request clarification of the Division of Housing and Community Renewal’s (DHCR) rent reduction policy with respect to tenants who experience a diminution of services, and to highlight an imminent issue in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (ST-PCV).

We are concerned that the DHCR’s policy is incompatible with the Rent Stabilization Code (RSC), and runs the risk of denying tenants compensation to which they may be entitled. Specifically, we seek clarification about a serious discrepancy between the DHCR’s stated policy on rent reduction effective dates and the RSC as it pertains to applications for Rent Reductions for Decreased Services recently filed by hundreds of ST-PCV residents in approximately 110 buildings, who are represented by the ST-PCV Tenants Association.

As you know, these ST-PCV residents filed applications on February 26, 2013 for rent reductions due to loss of services during and after Hurricane Sandy. The lost amenities include loss of trunk storage service, security systems, laundry room services, bicycle and carriage room storage, elevator service and building intercom services.

Section 2523.4(a)(1) of the RSC provides that “the DHCR shall … reduce the rent for the period for which it is found that the owner has failed to maintain required services.” Of course, application of this provision is predicated on the DHCR finding that services in fact have not been maintained, but in the event of such a finding, it is clear that any rent reduction should be effective for the entire period for which the services have not been maintained.

However, it is apparently the DHCR’s practice, as stated in its Fact Sheet #14: Rent Reductions for Decreased Services, that “The effective date for rent stabilized tenants is retroactive back to the first day of the month following DHCR’s service of the complaint on the owner.”

We do not understand why the DHCR’s practice is inconsistent with the RSC. If tenants are denied contractually obligated services, neither logic nor the RSC supports limiting their remedy to the period after the DHCR has had time to serve notice on the owner.

We are particularly concerned with the rent reduction applications recently filed by ST-PCV residents and currently pending before the DHCR. We understand that the DHCR has indicated that it may take several weeks to process these applications, which could delay the start date of any approved reductions even further under the agency’s stated practice.

In light of these serious concerns, we must ask: (1) When do you expect to present ST-PCV management with the rent reduction claims? (2) What is the legal basis for the policy regarding effective dates found in the fact sheet?

Given the time sensitive nature of the ST-PCV applications, and the importance of this issue to the people we represent, we ask that you respond promptly to these questions. If you would like to discuss this matter, please feel free to contact any of us directly. If you would like to arrange a meeting or conference call, Anna Pycior in Assemblymember Kavanagh’s office is available to help arrange one. We hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Brian Kavanagh, State Assembly Member
Brad Hoylman,
State Senator
Daniel R. Garodnick, City Council Member
Carolyn B. Maloney, U.S. Representative
Scott M. Stringer, Manhattan Borough President

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