Some good news on the affordable housing front. After a two-month investigation, the New York Attorney General’s office has gotten the owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village to back off the midterm rent increases they sprang on tenants last May.
The turnaround comes as a result of reports that leasing agents representing the owning company not only peddled misleading information about the contract change, but goaded them, in person and by e-mail, into signing papers that hadn’t been properly explained to them.
Back in May, the owners of the two developments, CWCapital, informed tenants that their rents would go up on June 1, before the start of the new lease. Tenants were given two weeks to begin paying at the new rate–as much as $1,100 more per month–or face eviction after 60 days.
On top of reversing the massive rent hikes, CWCapital must allow any tenants who terminated their leases anticipating eviction to withdraw the termination. CWCapital is also not allowed to enforce the parts of the leases that allows a similar pile-on of midterm rent increases at any point in the future.
As two of the oldest housing developments in the country, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have always been home to a vibrant middle-class community, and it looks like the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is looking to preserve that legacy. “[T]he settlement’s prohibition on any additional mid-term rent increases ensures an end to this latest struggle to keep the neighborhood a haven for the middle class,” said Schneiderman. Way to go.