Quik Park operates garages in Stuyvesant Town. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Stuyvesant Town garage customers who were given a rent increase earlier this year without any notice can expect to see their money refunded.
The refunds of $60 will be paid in the form of credits to customer accounts in September, following the garages’ parent company, Citizens Icon Holdings, agreeing to pay a $1.2 million settlement. The settlement was announced by the Department of Consumer Affairs last Wednesday.
Council Member Dan Garodnick, who’d alerted the DCA to the increases after becoming concerned they were invalid due to the lack of notice, said he felt it was necessary to go through the enforcement authorities in order to get results from Citizens Icon, which runs Icon and Quik Park garages.
The $1.2 million is to be spread around its customer base in various garages around the city, since, according to Garodnick, “They were doing different sorts of things in different garages.”
Garage customers began complaining about the increases last September. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)
By Sabina Mollot
Several months ago, drivers who parked their cars at any of the garages located in Stuyvesant Town found themselves socked with a $20 monthly increase in rent, without prior warning.
Now, Council Member Dan Garodnick is looking to the Department of Consumer Affairs to see if those increases, issued by garage operator Icon/Quik Park, are actually legit. In a letter to the DCA commissioner, Lorelai Salas, late last month, Garodnick wrote about the increases, which he started hearing about from garage customers last September.
“These increases have come without any notice,” he said. “The increases have been unaccompanied by any explanation; garage customers have simply received monthly bills higher than what they have paid previously. Since local law requires a 60 day prior notice of rate changes, it would appear that all of these increases are invalid, and should be reversed.”
Quik Park, which operates the parking garages in STPCV, recently announced that customers would face a fee unless they enrolled in the online payment plan that automatically charges the monthly bill to a credit card or bank account, but according to Councilmember Dan Garodnick, his office has learned that this new policy will not be implemented.
Garodnick had sent a letter to StuyTown general manager Rick Hayduk and Quik Park CEO Rafael Llopiz last Wednesday regarding the new proposed policy, arguing that online payment would adversely affect the high senior population in STPCV. Garodnick also noted that concerns about the proposed policy were especially high given that Quik Park had also increased its rates earlier this year.
Llopiz did not respond to a request for comment on the policy.
Council Members Dan Garodnick and Jumaane Williams with tenants at a press conference at City Hall (Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel)
By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Tenant advocate groups have a message for landlord who harass tenants: You’re being watched.
At a press conference last Thursday, the advocates and elected officials said that they have identified predatory equity landlords who tenants say have been mistreating them and forcing them to live in hazardous conditions. Councilmembers Dan Garodnick and Jumaane Williams, who formed the Coalition Against Predatory Equity last year with Councilmember Ritchie Torres from the Bronx, were at the event.
“We now have names attached to these situations so they know we’re going after them,” Williams, chair of the Council’s Housing Committee, said.
The landlords that have been singled out are Alma Realty Corp., Benedict Realty Group, Coltown Properties, Icon, SMRC Management, Steve Croman and Ved Parkash. Various tenants from buildings owned by these landlords were at the event, including residents of 444 East 13th Street, who recently filed a lawsuit against their new management company with the help of the Urban Justice Center because they have no gas or hot water and the management company has been doing construction despite a stop work order from the Department of Buildings.