CWCapital Asset Management, the special servicer that controls Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village, said in a statement today that it will delay mid-lease rent increases for hundreds of tenants.
More than 1,000 residents of the sprawling apartment complex received under-the-door notices yesterday that their rents would be rising on June 1 as part of a class action settlement between tenants and Stuy Town’s previous owners. The increases will now take effect on July 1, CWCapital said.
The reprieve comes just hours after tenants held a press conference alongside city and state elected officials — including City Council member Dan Garodnick, a Stuy Town resident, and State Assembly Member Brian Kavanagh, who represents the area — decrying the apparent lack of notice.
The increases range from an extra $100 to $900 per month, Kavanagh said in a release. But some tenants would face hikes of thousands of dollars per month, according to a release from the complex’s tenants association.
The tenants who received the notice were given an option of paying the higher rent or terminating their leases by providing 30 days’ notice, according to CWCapital. This deadline will also be extended: tenants who give notice by July 1 will have until August 1 to leave without paying the new, higher rents.
The increases are part of the recent settlement resolving a class action alleging that insurer MetLife and Tishman Speyer, the former owners of Stuy Town, improperly deregulated rent-stabilized units, as previously reported. The terms reached give CWCapital the option to increase rents in the middle of leases, despite objections made from elected officials who in January asked the company not to do so, according to the Kavanagh release.
“A mid-lease rent increase of $900 is nothing less than an eviction notice,” said Garodnick, who had previously praised the settlement, in a statement today. “We are tired of this neighborhood being treated like an ATM machine. It shocks the conscience to see a landlord using any means necessary to raise rents with no regard for its effect on a community.”
However, CWCapital noted that tenants received notice of the settlement months ago, including a provision that allowed the company to raise rents mid-term.
“The attorneys and tenant representatives were fully aware of these terms and concluded that they preferred this outcome to others that were available to them during the negotiations,” CWCapital said.
Of the complex’s roughly 11,000 apartments, 1,800 have two rent options: a market-rate rent or a figure reached from how many times the unit was vacated and the amount of increases it currently has under city regulations. It was said in the wake of the settlement in November that 720 units will turn to market rate, adding hundreds of dollars in monthly rent to each unit.