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Tenants' Meeting Q and A

 

 

Q – We have a lot of issues in the building concerning safety and maintenance that have not been addressed, plus I am worried that management just wants to evict my neighbors and me and sell the building we are in.  Is there anything I can do?

 

A – If you have issues that have not been addressed by management, you should immediately report them to the attorney general’s office, and keep your complaint number. Click here: Attorney General Complaints  If you don’t file a complaint, you are allowing these things to go on.

 

Q – Where else can I report problems and get help?

 

A – Once you have filed your complaint, contact the NY Senators' offices (202) 224-6542 (Schumer) or 202-224-4451 (Gillebrand) with the complaint number.  You should also call 311 and report the problem to HPD (Housing Preservation and Development)

 or the ECB (Environmental Control Board)  Sometimes Met Council can help speed things up too.

 

Other resources: Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) 

 

Q – How do I know if I am rent controlled?

 

A – Every tenant should check with the DHCR  (Division of Housing and Community Renewal) to get the status of your unit

 

Q – What does ‘rent regulated’ mean?

 

A – Rent regulated is a broader term that includes rent regulated and rent stabilized.  By reviewing the rent history for your unit, you can determine what its status is.  Met Council can help you do that.

 

Q – What does deregulated mean?

 

A – If you move in after the rent was legally being charged at over $2,000.  Then the apartment is no longer regulated.  If you make over $175,000 for two years in a row, you are no longer rent regulated if the landlord starts a proceeding with DHCR to evict you.

 

Q – How long can I look back if I think my rent was illegally increased?

 

A – You can go back to four years prior to see if the rent was illegally increased, but if there was fraud, you can go back 6 years.

 

Q – How do I know if I am rent stabilized or rent controlled?

 

A – Some of this was touched on at the meeting.  Here is a good resource: NYC Rent Guidelines Board 

 

Q – What is preferential rent?

 

A – You are paying a lower rent.  If it says on the lease that that rate ends at the end of the term and they can raise the rent to what the legal rent can be, your rent will go up to the legal limit.  If it doesn’t say that, you can keep the preferential rent.

 

Q – The landlord hasn’t given me a lease for the past three years, and now he comes to me and says he’s tripling my rent.  How often can rents be raised?

 

A – Once a year.

 

Q - How much can rents be raised?

 

A - The Rent Guidelines Board meets every June and they come up with new increases.   Normal rent increases over the last 10 years have been between 2 - 5 %

 

Q – If I want to file a complaint, who is the landlord I can complain about that is not giving me a lease, or not making repairs?

 

A – Neil Bender.

   

Q- Am I entitled to know who is getting my rent money?

 

A – If your landlord is listed as an LLC – you are entitled to know who to make the check out to, but not necessarily who is behind/protected by the LLC and the ultimate party that eventually gets that money.

 

Q – Do I need a lawyer to resolve my issue with management?

 

A – You may, and you may not.  Research your issue, Contact Metropolitan Council on Housing, 212-979-0611 and ask questions.

 

Q – How can we force management to make repairs to our building?

 

A – First, make sure you have reported problems to management and to the Attorney General  Form a tenants’ organization with the other neighbors in your building and call a rent strike… eventually a judge will decide the case.

 

Click Here for How to form a Tenants Association

 

Q – Can management request my social security number, or a copy of my marriage certificate etc.?  What are my rights as a tenant?

 

A   No.  Your landlord has limitations as to what he can request of you.  You should confirm with Met Council or a lawyer what those things are.

 

Q – What is the benefit of organizing a tenants’ organization in my building, rather than addressing my issue on my own?

 

A – There is power in numbers, and if others have the same issue, such as if a group of rent-regulated tenants within your building bonds together, they can file for a rent reduction.  That will have more of an impact on your landlord than your going it alone.

 

Q – Can my landlord penalize me for joining a tenants’ association?

 

A – A State real property law states, a landlord cannot retaliate against any tenant for joining a tenants’ association.

 

Q – Are commercial tenants included in the organizing?

 

A – Met Council is still looking into this.  Contact them.

 

Q –What else happened at the meeting?

 

A - Tenants gathered together to begin to form tenants’ meetings for each building.  Met Council suggested going door-to-door to your neighbors, or handing out fliers to start organizing.  Also, you can contact Met Council to come to your buildings’ meeting for more information at 212-979-6238

 

Many Met Council help sheets can be found here:

 

http://www.metcouncilonhousing.org/help_and_answers

 

 

Contact us for highly recommended tenant attorneys if you would like legal representation.

 

Q – What happens to my rights if my building is sold?

 

A – Your rights are the same.

 

Q – What if they evict me before selling the building?

 

A – Then you better file any complaints with the attorney general  now if you are worried about that so you won’t be evicted.

 

Q – I have never received interest on my rent security deposit.  Am I supposed to?

 

A – Yes, you are supposed to receive it every year.  Here is the form to file: Rent Security Form

 

Q – What if I am unhappy with any organization or Met Council?

 

A – Here is the form for that complaint: Complaint Form

 

Other resources: Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) go here: http://www.dhcr.state.ny.us/

 

More links here: http://www.dhcr.state.ny.us/general/othent.htm

 

Fact and info link: http://homepages.nyu.edu/~swl2/housing.html

 

Met Council factsheet: http://www.metcouncil.net/factsheets/factsheets.html

 

More Questions and Answers:

 

Q – Why didn’t you introduce yourself?

 

A – We did our best to meet and greet as many people coming in as possible.   Due to the sheer numbers of tenants, and the line forming outside in the cold, it became rushed as it got well past the 6:30 PM meeting start time.

 

Q – Why was there videotaping?

 

A – To more easily keep track of information given out by Met Council to be transcribed onto the site (above) for tenants who could not attend the meeting or for latecomers.   We planned to take notes from the videotape to prepare minutes of the meeting, whereas in taking notes by hand you miss a lot and can get things wrong.

 

Q – Were any of the tenants videotaped/photographed?

 

A – No.

 

Q – Was the videotape intended to be used for the lawsuit?

 

A – Absolutely not.  The lawsuit is a will challenge, and whatever the tenants do has absolutely no effect on the appointment of an administrator, the real estate or on the will challenge.  Judges make these decisions.

 

Q – How did you get our contact information?

 

A – We looked up the real estate properties and used various websites on the Internet… whitepages.com, 411.com etc.

 

Q – How did Met Council find us?

 

A – We gave them the list of Gottlieb properties.

 

Q – Why were you checking who we were at the door?

 

A – To prevent representatives from management from entering the meeting and thus protect your anonymity. 

 

Q – Why did you take our contact information?

 

A – To double-check our lists were accurate so we could more easily get information to you should an update become available you would want to know about.  There was/is no immediate plan for their use.

 

Q – Did anyone from Gottlieb management try to come into the meeting?

 

A – Yes, at least four representatives showed up.  Neil Bender employed a private security agency NGH Associates, and several members of this agency showed up, as well as Gottlieb Real Estate’s attorneys.

 

Q – Will anyone be checking to see who comes to the next meeting?

 

A – This question needs to be addressed by you to Met Council.  Met Council is setting up the next meeting, and does not have a security system in place or plan to.  We will not be there.  We strongly suggest you address this issue well in advance of the next meeting, for your own protection, should you not want management’s representatives seeing you and hearing what you say at the meeting.  We guarantee they will show up, and you won’t know if the person sitting next to you is a tenant or a spy.  Don’t wait for your neighbor to call Met Council.. do it yourself.  212-979-6238

 

Q – How have you helped any tenants?

 

A – We helped tenants by alerting the court that Neil Bender was attempting to evict tenants without any authority.  By notifying tenants of their rights, we helped them delay eviction proceedings.

 

A burgundy wool scarf was left in the meeting room, which we are holding.  If you left a scarf, please let us know and we will gladly return it.

Please contact us with any questions. Email: SaveTheVillage@aol.com

 

 

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