By Heather Holland
STUY TOWN — Residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were shocked to find a notice taped to their doors on Tuesday, giving tenants two weeks to either pay a mid-lease rent increase or move out.
CW Capital, the primary lease holder of the property, distributed notices detailing rent increases ranging from $100 to over $900 per month, and said tenants would have to decide whether to pay the increase or move out within 60 days of the notice that was doled out to individual tenants on Tuesday afternoon.
“It was like we were being served,” said Bethany Mizrahi, a 37-year-old mother of three children and a resident of Peter Cooper Village. “There was no prior notice that this would be happening.
"The major concern is that a lot us are going to have to leave, and I think that’s what they want. We might have to leave, and possibly pull our kids out of their schools. It’s going to be a big problem.”
Bethany said she would not be able to afford to pay $2022.85 more for her apartment, as specified on the notice taped to her door, and might have to find another place to live.
“We just lost all our services, were missing laundry rooms, basements and laundry service, and it’s been a huge burden for us,” said Mizrahi. “We still don’t know when those services will be restored. That was just a few months ago, and now this.”
Last month, the City Supreme Court ruled to approve the Roberts class action settlement initiated by the ST-PCV Tenants Association, which meant tenants were to be reimbursed $68.7 million in damages for class member tenants who were overcharged market rents.
Fine print in leases that were activated by the recent Roberts Settlement allows CW Capital to increase rents on the property during the middle of the current lease, said a statement released by City Councilman Dan Garodnick.
“As you may know, this agreement was reached with the plaintiffs as an equitable resolution to a lawsuit that CW Capital inherited from Tishman Speyer and Met Life,” the notice to tenants reads. “If you want to exercise your right to terminate your lease and vacate, please return the enclosed form as soon as possible but no later than 30 days from the notice date.”
At least a hundred tenants attended a press conference organized by elected officials in front of the property's leasing office located on First Avenue near 16th Street.
“A rent mid-lease increase of $900 is nothing less than an eviction notice,” said Garodnick in the statement. “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 the community.”
Peter Micheels, a 68-year-old resident of Stuyvesant Town for 30 years said he would have to move out if the rent increases are enforced, and hoped that support from elected officials would keep CW Capital from going through with it.
“They’re basically pirates,” said Micheels. “If they can just hike the rent in the middle of the term, what stops them from raising the rent every ten minutes?”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Bethany Mizrahi's rent increase and number of children. This has since been updated with the correct numbers.