AirBNB Covers Market Rate Tenants’ Rents – At a Profit

Many short-term airBNB subtenants in NYC wander around buildings confused with keys and a printed email in one hand, pulling luggage with the other, then leave the noisy apartment doors open, allow their pets and children to run wild in the hallways, let anyone in the front doors to the buildings after them, and may make copies of front door and other keys.

The tenants who illegally sublet their entire apartments in NYC via airBNB must be oblivious to zoning and licensing, building, fire, safety, and security issues. Apparently, they have not read NY State Senator Liz Kuger’s Answers for New Yorkers Concerned or Confused About the Illegal Hotel Law.

At one upper west side building, market rate tenants turn a profit on their destabilized apartments. For example, in an apartment renting for approximately $6,000 per month, there is a couple who rent out their entire two bedroom duplex penthouse apartment by the night for $375, by the week for $2,625, or by the month for $11,130 according to their listing on airBNB.

The entire listing with over 30 pictures of their apartment and a few of the building itself may be found here although we suspect that they may remove it shortly as neighbors have expressed their safety and security concerns directly to the couple. No matter, SOMEONE has all the screen shots.

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In addition, another couple in the same building who also rent out their entire apartment on a short-term basis, leaked their 7 page illegal subtenant/guest instructions.
Click on images to enlarge; Press the back arrow in your browser to return to this page.

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Their profile page was probably deleted by now.

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Brockholst Burglaries Spur Rent Strike and Article 7A Discussions

Reliable sources from tenants living at the Brockholst, 101 West 85th Street, are fed up with the apparently deficient and negligent security and safety measures in place at the building. Although RCR Management personnel at the office at 155 Riverside Drive has been apprised of the fire safety, health and security issues, there has been only cursory responses.

Currently, tenant mail packages are being stolen and a mirror attached to the wall in the lobby of the building was stolen as evidenced by the management’s video security recordings clearly showing the perpetrator in flagrante delicto on May 4, 2014 at 4:18 a.m. Yet, after 2 weeks, no police reports were filed and tenants were not notified of these incidents. If not legally required to do so, one would think that, from a moral and ethical point of view, some action would be taken or notice given. While tenured tenants are not surprised given that the fire in 2012 was a result of electrical wiring problems in apartment 6-12 where the wiring was never inspected in over 40 years, the well-documented agency complaints describing the blocking of fire exits in the basement, multiple heat and hot water complaints, children with high blood levels of lead, etc., it is noteworthy that the market rate tenants are now also antagonized.

And so it would appear that the so-called video monitoring security system is in place for RCR Management – Ari Paul, Brian Tarzik, Richard Eisenberg, and others – solely in order to snoop upon the tenants and has nothing to do with the tenants’ security or safety which apparently occupies no position of priority for the owners or management.

The tenants took it upon themselves to notify each other via their own advanced networking technology, as Ari Paul has forbidden any bulletin postings by tenants anywhere in the building. Apparently, he does not want tenants to communicate amongst themselves. Too bad. Actually, they do communicate quite well, and often.

Discussions have begun, exploring the potential for a full building rent strike until the security issues are resolved. An Article 7A proceeding in New York City Civil Court – Housing Part is also possible.

The following is copied from the NY Courts website:

Article 7A Proceedings

Article 7A of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) allows at least 1/3 of the tenants in the building, or the New York State Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to ask the court to appoint an administrator to run the building in place of the owner, when there exists for at least 5 days any of the conditions listed in the RPAPL. For further information, you may refer to RPAPL sec. 770(1).

70. Grounds for the proceeding

1. One-third or more of the tenants occupying a dwelling located in the city of New York or the commissioner of the department of the city of New York charged with enforcement of the housing maintenance code of such city, or in the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester may maintain a special proceeding as provided in this article, upon the ground that there exists in such dwellings or in any part thereof a lack of heat or of running water or of light or of electricity or of adequate sewage disposal facilities, or any other condition dangerous to life, health or safety, which has existed for five days, or an infestation by rodents, or any combination of such conditions; or course of conduct by the owner or his agents of harassment, illegal eviction, continued deprivation of services or other acts dangerous to life, health or safety.

2. If the proceeding is instituted by the commissioner of the department of the city of New York charged with enforcement of the housing maintenance code of such city, one-third or more of the tenants may, at any time thereafter during the pendency of the proceeding or after final judgment pursuant to section seven hundred seventy-six or seven hundred seventy-seven of this article, petition for substitution of themselves in place and stead of such commissioner of such department. Such substitution shall be ordered by the court unless good reason to the contrary shall be shown.

Fighting an MCI Increase: PAR and Article 78 Insights

According to Fact Sheet #24 on the DHCR website,

“Will violations affect the granting of an MCI?

DHCR can deny the application in whole or in part, if the owner is not maintaining all required services, or if there are current immediately hazardous violations outstanding pursuant to any municipal, county, State or Federal law relating to the maintenance of such services. Certain tenant-caused violations may be excepted. An MCI rent increase will not be approved if there is a DHCR finding of harassment outstanding on the building or if there is a DHCR issued building-wide rent reduction order in effect, based upon a decrease in services. DHCR will expedite any owner filed rent restoration applications. A tenant whose apartment has an individual rent reduction order in effect, based upon a decrease in service will be exempt from the MCI rent increase until the rent is restored by DHCR.”

However, it is important to note that, if the HPD violations are issued after the MCI is approved, the violations will not retroactively bar the MCI rent increase such as in the Petition for Administrative Review (PAR) of  900 Riverside Drive: DHCR Adm. Rev. Docket No. XD430030RT.

The decision was as follows:
The landlord applied for MCI rent hikes based on gas and water repiping. The District Rent Administrator (DRA) ruled for the landlord, and tenants filed a PAR. The tenants claimed that the landlord’s costs weren’t sufficiently proven and that a DHCR building-wide rent reduction order barred the MCI increase. The DHCR ruled against tenants. Landlord submitted all required documentation proving the work performed and its cost. The rent reduction order in question wasn’t issued until after the DRA granted the MCI application, so it didn’t bar the MCI rent hikes. So, the date when violations and rent reductions are issued is important.

An Article 78 proceeding is a special proceeding initiated in New York State Supreme Court under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules to overturn the determinations of administrative agencies like the DHCR. It is the final venue to object to the MCI rent increase order. This proceeding should be filed by an attorney.

In the matter of Tenants Committee of 36 Gramercy Park v. DHCR: 968 NYS2d 82, 2013 Slip Op 04984 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 7/2/13; Friedman, JP; Sweeny, DeGrasse, Richter, Feinman, JJ.), the DHCR granted landlord’s application for MCI rent hikes. The building’s tenant association filed an Article 78 appeal, challenging the rent increases. The court and appeals court ruled against tenants. One tenant, who was a member of the association, claimed to represent the association and filed on its behalf  but the tenant wasn’t an attorney and a voluntary association can be represented in court only by an attorney and not by one of its members who wasn’t an attorney licensed to practice law in New York.  So, the tenants’ appeal was summarily dismissed.

SCRIE Maximum Income Limit Could Go to $50,000

Pending City Council approval, according to the article below, as reprinted from this link.

Chin calls for more SCRIE reform
by Sam Spokony

Following the state Legislature’s recent plan to include thousands more low-income seniors in a city-administered rent-freeze program, a group of city councilmembers are calling for passage of another state bill to provide further housing security by tying future expansions of the program to regional cost-of-living increases.

The Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption, or SCRIE, program freezes housing costs for rent-regulated residents older than age 62 who already pay more than one-third of their income for rent.

The current maximum annual income for SCRIE eligibility is $29,000, though the state budget deal, approved March 31, would raise that income cap to $50,000, pending City Council approval. Consideration of the new state provision has been underway since April 10, when Margaret Chin, who chairs the City Council’s Committee on Aging, introduced a bill that, if passed, would make the increase official.

Meanwhile, the state is still considering a bill that would eliminate the need for future legislative action to increase SCRIE income limits.

That bill — first introduced in January 2013 by Assemblymember Joan Millman and state Senator Bill Perkins — would require the state’s top housing agency to increase the income limits at each year’s start, to reflect any annual increase in the regional Consumer Price Index that covers New York and northern New Jersey.

The C.P.I. — released monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — considers prices for things like food, clothing and shelter and transportation fares.

Proponents of the Millman-Perkins bill have long claimed that tying SCRIE increases to the C.P.I. would ensure that thousands more city seniors — especially those in rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods — would not be displaced from their homes by rising rents.

Now, Chin is once again trying to help push that SCRIE reform forward.

A new Council resolution, introduced jointly on April 29 by Chin and Councilmembers Karen Koslowitz and Julissa Ferreras, would call on the Legislature to pass the Millman-Perkins bill.

“Our seniors have the right to age in place without fear of being priced out of their lifelong homes and neighborhoods,” Chin said. “As New York City’s costs of living continue to rise, SCRIE serves as an essential safety net for seniors whose housing would otherwise be in jeopardy.

“By quickly enacting legislation linking SCRIE to regional C.P.I., the state can guarantee that more seniors can afford to remain in their homes.”

New York and northern New Jersey’s C.P.I. increased 1.3 percent from March 2013 to March 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.