August 13, 2012 : PRESS RELEASE
Democratic State Senate Candidate Praises ST/PCV Tenant Association’s Work for Community’s Future
New York, NY – Brad Hoylman, Democratic candidate for the new 27th State Senate District containing Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, announced today an agenda for a future for the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village (ST/PCV) community that respects the rights of the long-time tenants who call it their home.
ST/PCV must remain affordable, middle-class housing for its residents, Hoylman declared. The property must be properly maintained, and adequate funds must be set aside to do so. And the historical configuration of the property, including all of its open spaces, must be preserved. Hoylman supports the ST/PCV Tenants Association’s work in developing a solid plan with a reputable partner that respects these guiding principles, and as a State Senator will lend his voice and influence to their cause. In the meantime, quality of life should not suffer even in the absence of a deal, so Hoylman will fight to ensure that CW Capital and Rose Associates fulfill their responsibilities to maintain the property, and that they stop block rentals to students. To help oversee these efforts, Hoylman also pledges to have a dedicated staffer focused specifically on serving the needs of the residents of ST/PCV.
Hoylman’s agenda also includes reforms that strengthen tenants’ rights and prevent exploitation by landlords, such as eliminating “vacancy decontrol” provisions that incentivize baseless evictions and closing the loophole that allows landlords to clear out apartments for “personal use” without ensuring that they are actually occupied by the landlord or his family. It also calls for the restoration of the City’s home rule over tenant protections so that they can’t be blocked and gutted by upstate Republicans.
The full text of the agenda is printed below.
“Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village tenants deserve a secure future in the homes they have lived in for so long,” said Hoylman. “The Tenants Association has done outstanding work fighting for that future, and it deserves the support of every leader in the community.”
City Councilmember and Peter Cooper Village tenant Dan Garodnick has endorsed Hoylman in the race. “Brad has long been a staunch supporter of affordable housing and tenants’ rights,” said Garodnick. “I look forward to my continued work with him to preserve affordable middle-class housing in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village and throughout the city.”
Brad Hoylman has been a Democratic grassroots activist for over twenty years. He is the former Chair of Manhattan Community Board 2, a position to which he had been unanimously elected three times. Brad also holds the position of Democratic District Leader. He is a Trustee of the Community Service Society of New York, the city’s leading anti-poverty organization, and is a former board member of the Empire State Pride Agenda, Tenants & Neighbors, Class Size Matters and Citizen Action. In his run for the New York Senate, Brad has been endorsed by Tenants PAC, an organization devoted to advancing the tenant cause by supporting candidates for political office in New York who are strong supporters of tenants’ rights. Brad lives in the Village with his longtime partner David and their 20-month-old daughter Silvia.
The new 27th State Senate District covers much of the heart of Manhattan and includes some of the city’s oldest and strongest neighborhoods. The district includes Greenwich Village, Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, as well as parts of SoHo, NoHo, the Upper West Side, Midtown, the East Village, Alphabet City, and East Side neighborhoods including Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, Waterside Plaza and Phipps Plaza.
BRAD HOYLMAN’S AGENDA FOR STUYVESANT TOWN/PETER COOPER VILLAGE
The historic community of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village has long been an exemplar of affordable middle-class housing in New York. But since the failed Tishman Speyer takeover in 2006, the status of the community has been in severe jeopardy, as have the rights of its tenants. It is imperative to respect the rights of ST/PCV tenants and restore the long-term security of their housing situation.
Along those lines, Democratic State Senate candidate Brad Hoylman is committed to: (1) dedicating a member of his State Senate staff to deal specifically with issues emanating from ST/PCV; (2) working to persuade management that its interests are not served by contracting with academic institutions for block rentals of units; (3) protecting quality of life by pushing for adequate maintenance of the property, including demanding functioning laundry rooms and pristine recycling rooms; and (4) most significantly, standing with the Tenants Association in support of its plan for a more stable and affordable future for the community.
As chair of Community Board 2 and a former board member of the tenant advocacy organization Tenants and Neighbors, Brad has consistently stood up for the rights of tenants like those in ST/PCV. If elected, Brad will continue the fight in Albany, where he will:
• Restore home-rule over rent and eviction protections to the NYC Council and Mayor. Brad will fight to repeal the Urstadt Law, which bars New York City from adopting rent limitations and protections that are more stringent or restrictive than those in State law. As a result, New York City has little ability to adopt rational policies regarding rents, evictions and other housing-related issues. Instead, upstate Republican Senators who have no rent-regulated tenants get to decide what happens to New York City’s tenants.
• Fight to repeal “vacancy decontrol,” which creates a perverse incentive for unscrupulous landlords to evict tenants without cause in order to remove units from the rent regulation system.
• Close the loophole that allows landlords to use “one or more” apartments for their own personal use. This provision has been used to empty entire buildings of their long- term tenants. Once a tenant has been removed, there is no oversight to ensure landlords or their immediate family members actually occupy the units.
• Advocate for (S523/A2459) to reform the Major Capital Improvement (MCI) rent increase system so that MCIs are listed as a separate surcharge not compounded with the base rent that is only paid until the cost of the improvement is covered.
• Reform the Rent Guidelines Board. Brad will co-sponsor legislation (S741A/A6394B) to require the Mayor’s nominations to the Rent Guidelines Board to be approved by the City Council. He will also fight for the Rent Board Reform bill (S5057A/A5567A), which would fundamentally reform New York State’s Rent Guidelines Board system to level the playing field for tenants.
• Strengthen the State’s Tenant Protection Unit, which was created by Governor Cuomo to proactively enforce landlord obligations to tenants and impose strict penalties for failure to comply with HCR orders and New York’s rent laws. More resources are needed to modernize the State’s housing database in order to make it easier to determine the rent history of apartments, detect fraud among landlords and shorten the time it takes to deal with tenant complaints (which is currently more than a year).
• Expand housing support for seniors and disabled New Yorkers through expansion of the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption Program (SCRIE), which offers rent freezes to low-income seniors, and the Disabled Rent Increase Exemption Program (DRIE), which offers rent freezes to low-income disabled people.
The ST/PCV Tenants Association has been hard at work with a reputable partner developing a condo conversion plan for ST/PCV. Brad supports the TA’s goals of giving residents an opportunity to buy their apartments at a reasonable price, while also allowing them to retain their rent-stabilized status without fear of harassment should they choose to continue to rent. As State Senator, Brad will:
• Support the TA in its effort to ensure a more stable and affordable future with a conversion plan. Great credit goes to the ST/PCV Tenants Association for taking matters into their own hands and working with Brookfield to protect the interests of the community. Brad stands ready to lend his voice and influence to ensure that CW Capital comes to the table and deals fairly with the residents of ST/PCV.
• Work to ensure that ST/PCV will remain affordable middle-class housing for its residents. Housing must stay affordable in the long term for every resident, whether through home ownership or permanent rent protections.
• Fight for proper maintenance of the property. Without proper funding, lack of maintenance can cause conditions in the community to deteriorate. There needs to be enough money set aside for this purpose.
• Defend the historic configuration of the property, including its open spaces. ST/PCV was built for returning World War II veterans, and efforts are underway to secure its landmark status. Regardless of the outcome of those efforts, the historic configuration should be protected, and the open spaces should be maintained for the residents.
• Dedicate a member of his State Senate staff to focus specifically on serving the residents of ST/PCV.
• Work to persuade ST/PCV management that they should not contract with universities and other academic institutions for block rentals. Part of what makes ST/PCV great is the diversity of its community, but we cannot allow it to be overrun by students.!
• Keep the property a unified whole. Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town are a single community, and must always remain that way.
Brad Hoylman recognizes the importance of preserving affordable housing like ST/PCV, and has spent his career fighting for tenants. As State Senator, he will continue the fight for tenants’ rights, for ST/PCV, and for all of New York.