Something for the wanna haves

Tenants Questions Answered in Stuyvesant Town Conference Call

While the settlement agreement between the Tenants Councel and the defendants Tishman-Speyer has not yet concluded a conference call was held today for the tenants association members.
Questions had been previously emailed by the tenants and those present on the call to illuminate the facts were Council member Dan Garodnick, Councel for the plaintiffs Alex Schmidt and Congresswoman Carol Maloney.
It is now known that the highest court in New York ruled in favor for the tenants whose apartments had been improperly deregulated by managing partners Tishman-Speyer to receive re-regulation and refunds.
The settlement is still under negotiations all of which were elucidated in today’s conference call.
1. The settlement: Until the settlement has been finalized there will be an interim agreement lasting 7 weeks, a 7 week stay, if the defendants stipulate that this is a class action suit that interim agreement may be extended until July.
2. The new billing: Tenants will begin to receive their new rent stabilized rent bills in the next few days for the January billing cycle.
3. The rates: The calculations will be based from when the apartment was last stabilized plus the allowed 20% vacancy rate increase plus the allowed capital improvement increase of 1/40th of the cost of improvement plus the rent guideline board yearly rate increase (usually 3%) this will determine the rate of your new apartment. An example may be- $1500 last stabilized rent plus $300 vacancy rate plus $1000 (example for $40,000 capital improvements) plus 3% annual increase ( we will say 3 years for this example) equals $3059. This will be your new rate. However, if you pay less than this example that could be attributed to your actual apartment then the lesser number takes precedent. In some cases the market rate you pay may be lower than the stabilized rate.
But once you’re rate is calculated that will become your new stabilized rate. No one will receive any increases.
It has been estimated that 30-40% of all market rate tenants will not receive a reduction. In part because so many have re-negotiated their rents since the economic collapse began last September 2008.
So to summarize the agreement made was that whatever number is lower will be paid for the balance of the lease.
4. Tenants ready for their lease renewal:For people who renew their leases in the interim period they may be affected and will pay a higher rent. The maximum increase will be subject to the rent guideline board (usually 3%).
5. The 1/40th rule: This is a legal provision. A landlord can make improvements and charge this number. Currently it is an indefinite law to receive the costs even after the costs have been recouped. Counsel members are looking to change this to a 1/84th rule in addition to a limitation on recouping costs. They will argue to have costs limited once they have been fully recouped. Currently there is no limitation for landlords due to the current law which enables them to charge for capital improvements indefinitely.
6. How do you validate the capital improvement costs?: How can a tenant certify the investment made by the landlord? Invoices will be subpoenaed for MCI’s. An independent expert/consultant will be part of the scrutiny efforts. As negotiations continue in the settlement more legislative evaluation is to be considered. Going forward- newly rent stabilized tenants will be subject to the MCI increases.
No MCI’s have been calculated in the current rent stabilized rates- meaning in the future there could be additional charges factored in to these rents. However there is a State 2 year rule – state law has a statute of limitations if a landlord did not factor in the MCI charges during that period.
7. Apartments with forced vacancies: Vacancy rates entitle the landlord to receive a 20% increase but artificially created vacancies may affect the estimated rate. The landlord could be forced to roll back the rate. That is vacancies forced through deregulation would have received an improper increase. Each unit will be scrutinized to determine the proper rate.
8. The 10 step formula: An independent expert/consultant will be part of the scrutiny efforts to determine what exactly is the correct number to be appropriated for each affected market rate apartment.
9. Acceptance of the new rent rate:Do tenants waive their rights if they accept the final rental rate? No was the quick answer to this. The settlement agreement will bound all parties but tenants have the right to opt out of the settlement and may pursue litigation.
10. The refunds:Monies have been placed into an escrow account and have been turned over to joint custody to Tishman/and the attorney for the tenants. The attorneys for the tenants are looking to gain full control of the funds. Once this has been negotiated the refunds will be returned. Councel for the tenants hope this will be concluded by the end of January. The distribution of the funds has not been fully determined at this time. The retroactive discussions continue but will not be litigated while the 7 week or extended stay is in effect. Councel for the tenants stipulated that the defendants must agree to retroactive payments or there will be no settlement.
11. Former tenants: How can they make sure to participate fully? They should send an email which was suggested as better than a phone call or
Please give your name/ current contact info-former address at PCVST- and the dates you lived there.
You will be made automatic members of the class action suit. There is no limitation at this time. But you must be placed in the databank. You are only eligible to receive escrow funds if you had been a resident after April 1 2009.
12. Tishman and foreclosure or bankruptcy: This case will be preserved as by New York State law. Damages and claims will be preserved.
13. Tenants in restored units: This question was asked by a tenant living in a restored apartment which is not the same as a renovated apartment. Councel remarked that this was a category worth investigating. But that it was likely to be the same process as with a renovated unit, the 1/40th rule.
And so after 90 minutes the conference call had concluded. It has been a terrific victory for affordable housing and on behalf of all the tenants, for which I am in that category I would to thank our advocates and legal Councel for their tremendous diligence and hard work. I will report on the first rent bill I receive in the coming days.

Stuyvesant Town Tenants Wins Court Decision-A Resident Speaks

Something For The Wanna Have’s.

The battle between The Tenant’s association and PCVST management company Tishman Speyer ended yesterday with the highest court in New York ruling in favor of the The Tenants.  This was the last possible appeal from Tishman after an Amicus brief was prepared which served to prove Tishman’s double dipping in the form of receiving J-51 tax breaks and market rate rent hikes. The law clearly bars deregulating units “which became or become subject to [stabilization] by virtue of receiving tax benefits” under the city’s J-51 program. This was a huge victory for the lower and middle class. During this time of excessive corporate greed and massive bonus payments justice was served today with a very clear message; You can’t expect to break the law, make a profit while also receiving tax benefits and not be punished. You can’t have it both ways and enjoy a capitalist compensation and a socialist compensation while you screw the people in the community. That’s called exploitation. This was a risk taken to earn a profit and the risk has not paid off. The beauty of which is pure capitalism. There are some commentator’s and journalists out there who see this as an unjust verdict. One of which is Steve Cuozzo in his NY Post article. He suggests that Jerry and Rob Speyer had another interpretation of the law (yeah no kidding) and writes “With so much hanging on the meaning of “by virtue of,” Jerry and Rob Speyer nonetheless rolled the dice. Now the court has made things far worse for them and for the entire decontrol cause, which too briefly offered a way out of the system’s socialist-style deathlock on the rental housing scene.” My answer to that is, Are you friggin serious Steve? So you’re supporting tax theft at the very least? This was a victory for pure capitalism and justice. If you take a profit gamble and you fail due to what is written in law then it’s game over. And the fallout from this can neither be protected or rationalized. If other landlords profit margin were based on the same expectations then that too is their big gamble. For the record I am a resident in Stuyvesant Town making $150,000 a year and I cannot save any money. This is a true victory also for the middle class. We deserve a victory after all our money has been either stolen from us or simply gobbled up by credit card companies and rent.

The final question I have is, now what? What happens from here with the decision. How will the money be parceled up for the victors? I live in a market rate apartment but I signed a lease agreeing to those terms.  While it’s true that 4,352  apartments are now market rate, I signed my lease agreeing to pay that rate.  I have asked employees working for Tishman Speyer whether I will receive a new re-regulated apartment and at this time it is not certain what the costs will be to TS or the re-structuring of the leases. I do not expect pro rated rent payments to be awarded but an apartment rate that could help me save would be nice.

What NYC Real Estate Can You Buy For $800K

NY1 - August 10th Real Estate Report

NY1 - August 10th Real Estate Report

The delightful Jill Urban reports.
Listed by Elaine Reimer of Halstead
or call 212 501 3500 for further details.

Show Me The Numbers.
303 east 57th street – (Co-op)
1970 converted to Co-op
$2302 maintenance
2 bedrooms
1.5 bathrooms
15lbs – weight of dogs allowed

With Williamsburg Inventory Doubling- What Does That Mean For Pricing?


It’s difficult to be a developer today and especially in Williamsburg where some have seen their precious buildings foreclosed on by the lenders. And according to Miller Samuel it’s not from lack of interest from buyers but the strict guidelines by Fannie Mae and soon to be by Freddie Mac expecting a building to be sold by 70% before they approve buyers for financing. So, what do you do if you’re a developer in 2010 and you’re building has to compete against an estimated almost 3000 units coming to market? I smell huge discounts in the future. Either that or lots of shiny, beautiful rentals hoping to attract a wave of renters that at this point in time is difficult to assess whether there will be any as job losses continue.
Good luck Williamsburg.

More Condo Buildings Are Converting To Rentals After Not Selling 15%.


Nick Hetherington
If you are a developer in today’s market and the original vision you had was to sell luxury condos at a high price psf but your sales office opened in 2008 or worse later, today you are being forced to restrategize.
There are several options open to you depending on the category for which your building falls under. So, which way do you go? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal [a pilot program, which aims to convert as many as 400 units, is designed to provide grants to real-estate developers and lenders to subsidize the completion of developments if the owners agree to turn the building into rental units for middle-income families. City officials said New York’s effort would target neighborhoods that are being hard hit by the condo construction bust, including Harlem in upper Manhattan and New York’s outer boroughs].

Ok, so some relief there for a few developers. What other options are there if you have a building outside these parameters? What if you’ve sold the requisite 15% of your inventory to be declared effective by the city? You could decide to create a rent to own program like 75 Wall street, Sutton Manor on East 53rd Street, 99 John Street, the Revere on East 54th Street and Morgan Court on Madison Avenue. In Brooklyn, the BridgeView Tower. Northside Piers and the Decora are among those with this option.
For more on this go to The NY Times article that appeared in December 2008.

For those of you that have been less than fortunate in moving your condo product, there is another option. Turn your building into a full rental property. This vehicle is reserved for projects that could not sell the requisite 15% that the city demands before they can declare the building effective as a condo property. The buildings that fall into this category so far are The Milan on west 23rd street and 6th avenue, The Remy on 6th Avenue and 27th street, rental prices here are quite moderate, so renters should take advantage while the developers are on the ropes. Others that may follow suit could include the high profile property with a great deal of celebrity traffic The Apthorp. The sponsors have until September 15th to make the grade. How much rentals would go for here is another question entirely.
But considering the drama that has surrounded The Apthorp, it will surely continue to make the real estate headlines.

What Is The Lowest Rental Price For A Doorman Apartment in Manhattan Below 40th St?

Nick Hetherington
The delicious Jill Urban ran a report today on ‘What Can You Rent In NYC For $1000 A Month?’. Well, you can’t live in Manhattan is the hard cold fact with that price point. So, what are the cheapest rents in Manhattan? Well that’s a relative question if it means you don’t mind living in a 5th floor walk-up in a building that has been renovated in over 20 years and it’s a 20 minute walk to the subway. But what if you want more? What if you want a doorman?
What if you want to have every convenience right on your doorstep but you have a very tight budget?
Well, we have found the lowest price doorman building in Manhattan below 40th street. It’s a pleasing very easy on the wallet $1650. Where is this hidden gem? It’s in the perennial fastest growing neighborhood The Financial District.
The building is on Gold Street and they have large studios for $1650, 1 bedrooms for $2100 and 2 bedrooms for $2385.
To live here you must call NY Living Solutions 212 777 7100.

What New York Real Estate Can Be Bought For $700K?

845SF Loft for $620,000

845SF Loft for $620,000

Nick Hetherington

The adorable Jill Urban reports on one option in Manhattan in a co-op.
And now for The NYLS top pick. In an uncertain market where new condo developments can be a risk if the building has not sold the requisite 30-40 percent, 90 William Street can offer the piece of mind a purchaser needs.
The listing broker, Barbara Helm explains the listing-“Be the first to enjoy this stunning apartment with exquisite architectural details. Post-war modern design melds with classic pre-war features such as beamed 9’6″ ceilings and structural corinthian column”.
It’s important to note that this is not one of our listings and we stand to not make one dollar if the apartment sells. This is simply fair reporting that Jill Urban did not cover. She can’t cover every listing under
$700K but this deserves some coverage because the price of this apartment in a new condo development that has sold 90% on it’s entire portfolio is remarkable. Plus the 421g tax abatement was approved this month, so the purchaser will pay zero taxes for the next ten years.
Here are the details-
Asking: $620,000
Square Footage:845
Price per SF:$734
Common Charges:$739

Call Barbara Helms at Corcoran for details.

Rentals in New York City Drop 17.5% in Price Per SQ Foot


2009 Rental Graph By The Guru

2009 Rental Graph By The Guru

[Graphic via Prudential Douglas Elliman.]

This graph tells us it’s great news for bargain renters across the Manhattan land. For those that felt exiled to the other suburbs because of the increase in rental rates from 2007-2008 you are now no longer banished. Return to the isle immediately the landlords require your dutifull 1 year lease commitment.
In return they will bestow upon you not 1 but possibly 2 months free rent on top of the already decreased rates of 17.5%.
For those that chose to stay and take the high rate beating it is now time to tell your landlord that you are now king and what you feel the apartment you are staying in is worth. Ask for 17.5% off and you may receiveth. If not leave for a larger space for less money. Once in a while the masses do receive fair treatment. This is that time. Take full advantage while you can.