Stuy Town woman gets partial rent abatement for construction noise

The new Stuyvesant Town management office, now complete, was a source of torment to one woman at 276 First Avenue, who lived directly above the months-long construction. (Pictured) Workers on the roof in April as seen from 272 First Avenue

The new Stuyvesant Town management office, now complete, was a source of torment to one woman at 276 First Avenue, who lived directly above the months-long construction. (Pictured) Workers on the roof in April as seen from 272 First Avenue

By Sabina Mollot

When construction was underway on Stuyvesant Town’s new management office, for residents in the building housing it and the others closest to it, this of course meant months of constant noise and a lack of access to the walkway and playground between the buildings. Afterwards, CWCapital provided the impacted residents with $200 gift cards to local establishments as a way of thanking them for their patience.

But for one resident, the daily jackhammering and other noise that would start as early as 7:30 a.m. as well as the debris that would fly into her windows was so unbearable that she started withholding rent.

Naturally, she ended up getting taken to court, where a judge decided that she was in fact entitled to a partial abatement.

The resident, Caryn Chow, lives on the second floor of 276 First Avenue, which was so close to the construction that when it was ongoing, she said she could feel the walls vibrate. Considering that she’s a happiness coach and communication strategist who works from home, this meant making calls or doing other work-related tasks for long was impossible. Her daily routine of meditation was also of course disrupted.

“They’d start as early as 7:30 and the building is shaking,” said Chow, in a recent interview with Town & Village. “They said, ‘We’re in compliance,’ and they did prove that,” she added, of when she called management to complain. But, meanwhile, for her, the noise had become her new alarm clock, and an effective one at that. “They ousted me out of my apartment. I’m used to hearing sirens, but this was making everything shake and it was like being up against your ear.”

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Residents win rent rebate in deal over Hurricane Sandy damage

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

14th Street between Avenues B and C during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 (Photographer unknown)

14th Street between Avenues B and C during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 (Photographer unknown)

CW Capital and the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association reached an agreement on Wednesday on the Rent Reduction Application that the Association filed as a result of the long-term service disruptions after Superstorm Sandy.

The deal give residents in 15 of the 21 buildings in Peter Cooper Village and two in Stuyvesant Town that were the most affected by Sandy a one-time reduction of 15 percent from the July 2013 rent bill.

The buildings in Peter Cooper Village receiving the higher rent reduction are 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Peter Cooper Road, 420, 440, 510, 530 East 23rd Street, 441, 511, 531, 541 and 601 East 20th Street. 319 Avenue C and 620 East 20th Street in Stuyvesant Town also got the 15 percent reduction. Application participants in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village buildings that were minimally affected by the storm will get a one-time reduction of seven percent.

The claim was originally filed for all 110 buildings in the complex since all lost the ability to contact security through a button in the lobby and lost trunk and storage service.

There were a total of 1,500 participants from throughout Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village in the application.

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Memo from CompassRock: Some Peter Cooper Village basements may not reopen until September

Super Storm Sandy occurred over two and a half months ago. Since that time, we have made great progress in restoring services as quickly and safely as possible and we appreciate the support we have received from our residents.

Sandy caused historic devastation. It sent nine feet of storm water  into many of our basements, particularly in Peter Cooper Village, destroying most of the electrical and building control systems that are housed in those basements. As a result, many residents in Peter Cooper Village are still impacted.

Repairing electrical systems and the damage in the basements is a complex and laborious process. It requires highly specialized equipment, parts and technical expertise that would not be readily available under normal circumstances and for which we are competing with thousands of buildings throughout the region that demand those same resources as a result of the storm. Restoration also requires meticulous coordination and planning as repairs need to happen in a carefully orchestrated sequence in order to minimize any additional disruptions.

We are confident that we have the best team of engineers, contractors and staff members in the City working each day to restore these systems as quickly and safely as possible. While we understand that some residents are frustrated, we ask for your continued patience and assure you that we are making progress each and every day.

Below you will find our best assessment of the current conditions on Property. As we receive more information, we will provide additional updates.
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Letters to the Editor, Jan. 10

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

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Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village residents to get rent abatement for days without heat, power

On Tuesday afternoon, Andrew MacArthur, managing director of CWCapital, issued the following email to Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village residents announcing there would be rent rebates (via credit) for days without heat, electricity and elevator service.

Dear Residents,

I am writing after one of the more tumultuous weeks in the long and storied history of this community. I want to express our sympathy for all that you have endured over the past 7 days and to express my thanks and appreciation for all that our staff has done since last Monday to ensure resident safety and the fastest possible restoration of services.

I know some of you still remain without some utility services and that our job is not finished until everyone is back to normal. As a demonstration of our commitment, and in appreciation for all that you have been through since last Monday night, I am announcing that anyone who has been without heat, elevator service or electricity will not be charged rent for any day in which they were without one or more of these services.

While this last week has been extraordinarily trying, it also highlighted all that is special about our community. Our younger residents kept careful watch over their elderly neighbors and our elderly residents provided us all with an example of how to overcome adversity with good humor and fortitude.   Our political figures pitched in and the various resident groups have done their part. Finally, our staff has demonstrated a commitment to this community that is extraordinary.  During this last week, PCVST showed what it means to be part of a community you should all be proud to call home.

I want to extend a particular note of thanks to the building engineers, Public Safety officers, executive staff, and the many volunteers who helped our community get through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. I personally witnessed several of our engineers working, at significant personal risk, to secure damaged electrical equipment in order to maintain safe conditions in those buildings directly effected by the flood waters. I watched as our Director of Operations had a manhole cover explode next to him as he struggled with workers from ConEd to restore power. I am aware of several staff members that chose to stay here and assist this community despite having lost their own homes to the flood. Many of our executive staff slept onsite for the past week, leaving their own families in cold and darkness elsewhere, while they lead the effort to restore normalcy here.  Our Public Safety officers carried over 200 elderly residents down from their apartments and checked on over 500 additional residents at the request of concerned relatives. I also want to extend our appreciation to the Tenants Association and Councilman Garodnick who responded to our request for additional volunteers to assist in our efforts to check on all residents without power and to help with the food distribution efforts. Everyone involved in this effort should be proud of their participation.

We still have work to do to restore services and return normalcy to this community. We will continue to work tirelessly until that job is complete.

With respect,

Andrew MacArthur

Managing Director – CWCapital

Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town Rent Abatement

Due to the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, we are instituting the following rent abatement measures for all residents of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town:

  • We will abate rent for residents for any period their building was without an essential service (electric, elevators, heat).
  • We will abate rent for any resident with a scheduled move-out date from that date until the date they are actually able to move out.
  • We will abate rent for any resident with a scheduled move-in date from that date until the date they are actually able to move in.
  • We are trying to include the abatements as rent credits in the December rent bill, however we may not be able to include until January depending on how quickly our systems are able to be restored.
  • If you have a move-out scheduled in November, please email hurricanerentabatement@pcvst.comto discuss how your abatement will be handled.
  • Please pay your normal rent amount until the credits are reflected on your rent bill.