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We Are Still Waiting and the Legal Issues Are Not Over
DHCR'S J-51 Decision
We are still awaiting DHCR's J-51 decision. (DHCR is the State Agency, Division of Housing & Community Renewal.) When we get it, it will be posted on our web site and publicized immediately.
Landlord Lawyer’s Threats
In a newspaper article “Feds Say Gluck is Gouging I.P.N.” in the February 5, 2010 edition of the Downtown Express, Stephen Meister, Lawrence Gluck's lawyer, threatened to "make it my personal business" to make things worse for I.P.N. tenants if they win their case and are declared rent-stabilized. "Everyone gets screwed if [I.P.N. tenants' attorney] Miller wins."
These threats are nonsense, since if the tenants win their J-51 claims I.P.N. will be rent stabilized and neither Meister nor Gluck will be able to take the buildings to market. We hope no one has been frightened by these unprofessional threats. When Meister was re-contacted by the Downtown Express, he did not identify any quote that he thought was inaccurate, nor did he respond to a subsequent request for elaboration.
Our landlord has stated in the past that if we win, he plans on appealing. Whether or not he will appeal remains to be seen.
In the meantime, we must continue our legal fight — with representation from our attorney, Seth Miller.
J-51 and Rent Stabilization at Independence Plaza
How the decision affects each tenant:
1) For all tenants who filed the overcharge papers, as suggested in March 2008, your rent will be rolled back to when we left the Mitchell Lama program.
We know the owners made new free market tenants sign leases stating that their rent will not be affected by a J-51 decision. We believe this does not hold up legally.
Future Rent Increases
Each year, the Rent Guidelines Board votes on whether or not to increase stabilized rents and by how much. The people on the RGB are appointed by Mayor Bloomberg and so far, each year, they have voted to increase rents by varying percentages. We will have to become more pro-active to keep these increases down.
Aside from the J-51 situation, we have also been addressing many other issues - including the electricity charges and lack of energy efficiency. We have tried to work with Stellar Management to obtain energy-efficient appliances for all tenants. We have notified Stellar of funding available to pay for energy-efficient appliances for each tenant, but Stellar seems to have dropped the discussion.
In our search for mitigating this situation, we have discovered that the method Stellar used to submeter Independence Plaza was not done according to statutes set forth by governing agencies. Therefore, we have spoken to the Public Utility Law Project, who informs us that if we fight, we can have the submetering cease, be refunded all of our electric charges, and Management would have to apply again, following the proper procedure. The correct procedure includes 60-day notification with a comment period. During that comment period, we can address energy-efficient appliances and can check on possible cross wiring. We need your donations to help us start these proceedings.
HEAP - Home Energy Assistance Program
On a cold day in December, Daniel Squadron, Deborah Glick, Margaret Chin, and representatives from Alan Gerson, Jerry Nadler and Scott Stringer’s offices came to IPN for a press conference requesting our landlord's participation for HEAP at IPN. Led by Squadron's office, our landlord agreed and registered. We want to thank our elected officials for their great support on this and other issues!
Download the Letter and Quick Reference Guide for details:
What IPNTA Does
The IPNTA is doing the work that must be done to keep our apartments affordable and to keep our friends and neighbors together.
IPNTA keeps all tenants informed -- through its web site, at general tenants’ meetings, in our newsletters and letters from the IPNTA Executive Board, and committee meetings.
How You Can Help the Tenant Association Continue Helping You
Until now we have used a combination of funds from the plaintiffs (two legal cases, including original IPN tenants and the first IPN free-market tenants who brought the case to court regarding whether the J51 constitutes IPN being rent-stabilized), contributions, membership dues and money left over from our legal fund from several years ago.
All tenants have benefited from those funds -- although some tenants did not even contribute initially, and others never paid their dues to the IPNTA.
We understand this is a depressed economy, however, in the end tenants will save money and we have no choice but to start collecting.
It is now imperative that EVERY TENANT contribute something. We need all tenants to join the IPNTA (yearly dues) and we need tenants to contribute to the legal fund. (Hardship cases can pay less.)
We need you to contribute to the Legal Defense Fund to accomplish these goals. Some tenants ask why they cannot do this on their own. It is important to have legal representation. Without the group effort, individual legal fees will cost you more than contributing to the legal fund. That includes our working with PULP (Public Utility Law Project) to reverse the submetering order.
IPNTA is totally volunteer. We look forward to your participation. Along with the Executive Board and Committee Members, interested tenants act as Floor Captains (Floor Captains distribute information to tenants on their floors) or otherwise participate in Association activities.
Volunteer to be a floor captain or let us know your abilities.
We will also begin fundraising activities and we hope you will support our efforts on your behalf. Please see the Membership Form.
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