Residents of Mitchell-Lama co-op sue HPD over maintenance increases

Masaryk Towers
Masaryk Towers

The residents of a Lower East Side affordable housing cooperative have filed suit against the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development for what they say is an illegal hike in shareholders’ carrying charges, according to a statement today from the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, which is representing the tenants.

Residents of Masaryk Towers, a 21-story, six building Mitchell-Lama co-op development, say their charges were increased more than 30 percent in 16 months, in a number of increments, in violation of a city law prohibiting more than one increase in a two year period. The 200 low- and middle-income residents, about half of whom are senior citizens, also claim no public approval process took place, which is also required by law.

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The suit was filed in Manhattan Supreme Court today.

“Masaryk Towers is supposed to be affordable housing,” said Masaryk Towers resident Maria Muentes in the statement. “If HPD won’t follow its own laws, what protections do residents have against arbitrary increases?” she asked, adding that residents will be forced from their homes if the increases stand.  — Guelda Voien