Tenants of a New York City apartment complex are fuming after its owner raised their rents -- some by more than $1,000 a month -- in the middle of their leases, WABC-TV in New York reported. Residents of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village complex on the east side of Manhattan got the surprise rent hikes when notices were slipped under their doors. Four thousand units are being affected by the increases.
The rent hikes are part of a longstanding court battle between tenants and building management. In 2009, tenants won a fight against Tishman Speyer, then-owner of the complex, charging that many apartments were illegally deregulated under rent-stabilization laws. The tenants were given a temporary agreement to lower rents. But a permanent settlement was reached in November, allowing the current owner, CW Capital, to raise rents on 4,000 units, according to the Daily News. Now the notices give those residents two weeks' notice that their rents will be raised anywhere from hundreds of dollars to $1,100 a month starting June 1. (The complex has 11,200 units.)
"We signed a two-year lease, we've been here for one year and our rent just went up $700," tenant Heidi Fredrick told WABC-TV. Another tenant, Jennifer Lutz, had a $1,000 hike on her rent. "Oh, there's no way -- it's $1,000," Lutz told WABC-TV. "That's $12,000 a year."
Tenants are reportedly planning to protest the rent increases, and they are even considering a rent strike. "It is simply unfair and disrespectful, and we are tired of people treating this community like an ATM," New York City Councilman and Peter Cooper Village resident Daniel Garodnick told the Daily News. "Make no mistake about it. These increases are eviction notices."
CW Capital said in a statement that in recognition of the hardship the short-notice rent increases causes for some residents, the company is willing to give them a 30-day extension until July 1 to decide whether they will pay the rent hikes or move out.
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