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March 19, 2013 Via Email and U.S. Mail Darryl C.

Towns Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer New York State Homes and Community Renewal Hampton Plaza 38-40 State Street Albany, NY 12207 Dear Commissioner Towns: We are writing to request clarification of the Division of Housing and Community Renewals (DHCR) rent reduction policy with respect to tenants who experience a diminution of services, and to highlight an imminent issue in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village (ST-PCV). We are concerned that the DHCRs policy is incompatible with the Rent Stabilization Code (RSC), and runs the risk of denying tenants compensation to which they may be entitled. Specifically, we seek clarification about a serious discrepancy between the DHCRs stated policy on rent reduction effective dates and the RSC as it pertains to applications for Rent Reductions for Decreased Services recently filed by hundreds of ST-PCV residents in approximately 110 buildings, who are represented by the ST-PCV Tenants Association. As you know, these ST-PCV residents filed applications on February 26, 2013 for rent reductions due to loss of services during and after Hurricane Sandy. The lost amenities include loss of trunk storage service, security systems, laundry room services, bicycle and carriage room storage, elevator service, and building intercom services. Section 2523.4(a)(1) of the RSC provides that the DHCR shall reduce the rent for the period for which it is found that the owner has failed to maintain required services. Of course, application of this provision is predicated on the DHCR finding that services in fact have not

Darryl C. Towns

March 19, 2013

been maintained, but in the event of such a finding, it is clear that any rent reduction should be effective for the entire period for which the services have not been maintained. However, it is apparently the DHCRs practice, as stated in its Fact Sheet #14: Rent Reductions for Decreased Services, that The effective date for rent stabilized tenants is retroactive back to the first day of the month following DHCRs service of the complaint on the owner. We do not understand why the DHCRs practice is inconsistent with the RSC. If tenants are denied contractually obligated services, neither logic nor the RSC supports limiting their remedy to the period after the DHCR has had time to serve notice on the owner. We are particularly concerned with the rent reduction applications recently filed by ST-PCV residents and currently pending before the DHCR. We understand that the DHCR has indicated that it may take several weeks to process these applications, which could delay the start date of any approved reductions even further under the agencys stated practice. In light of these serious concerns, we must ask: (1) When do you expect to present ST-PCV management with the rent reduction claims? (2) What is the legal basis for the policy regarding effective dates found in the fact sheet? Given the time sensitive nature of the ST-PCV applications, and the importance of this issue to the people we represent, we ask that you respond promptly to these questions. If you would like to discuss this matter, please feel free to contact any of us directly. If you would like to arrange a meeting or conference call, Anna Pycior in Assemblymember Kavanaghs office is available to help arrange one. We hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely,

Brian Kavanagh State Assemblymember

Brad Hoylman State Senator

Daniel R. Garodnick City Council Member

Carolyn B. Maloney United States Representative

Scott M. Stringer Manhattan Borough President

c:

Greg Watson, NYC Regional Director, DHCR Susan Steinberg, Chair of the Board, ST-PCV Tenants Association John H. Marsh, III, President, ST-PCV Tenants Association