Knickerbocker tenants finally receive Sandy rebates

Residents of the 1,600-unit Knickerbocker Village affordable housing complex are finally receiving rent rebates for damage suffered in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The Lower East Side complex went 17 days without heat, water or electricity after the East River overflowed, rushing the building’s mechanical system during the storm. Now, tenants will receive nine days’ worth of rent, reflected on their January and February statements, with the possibility of more in the coming months.

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James Simmons, an executive with the group that owns Knickerbocker Village, said shortly after the blackout that “we will ensure that not a penny of rent is paid on days in which you did not have essential services,” only to have the AREA Property Partners-led ownership change course a short time later.

The owners told residents that they would not reimburse them until their insurer agreed to pay out storm claims. Elected officials such as state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, City Council member Margaret Chin and state Senator Daniel Squadron argued on the tenant side, pressing management to honor its promise.

Residents told the Lo Down blog that while they are grateful for the rent breaks, they feel the cash will eventually come out of their pockets, appearing somewhere else in the budget. [Lo Down]Julie Strickland