Kavanagh, Garodnick and Tenants Protest Disturbing Inspection Practices at Stuy Town and Peter Cooper

October 19, 2009

Assemblymember Brian Kavanagh, City Council Member Dan Garodnick, and members of the Stuyvesant Town / Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association (ST/PCV-TA) called, on October 19, 2009, for landlord Tishman Speyer to reform its faulty procedures for inspecting apartments, amid concerns that the inspections are little more than an effort to find ways to remove rent-stabilized tenants from their homes.

“As with so many issues, we’re once again calling upon Tishman Speyer to respect the reasonable needs and expectations of residents and to fully disclose the purpose, extent, and ramifications of these inspections,” said Kavanagh.

“Without any clear purpose or limits to these inspections, tenants are left to worry that this is just a last-ditch effort to clear out long-term residents,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “It has gone from an inconvenience to a real source of worry. If the inspections are as innocuous as Tishman Speyer says, then they should work with us and commit to some reasonable ground rules.”

ST/PCV-TA President Al Doyle added that “the Tenants Association is deeply concerned that Tishman Speyer has hit on yet another fishing device in its effort to push rent-stabilized residents out of their homes. The notice they are sliding under doors says that they will inspect each apartment ‘to verify that it complies with the law and the terms of your lease.’ We don’t understand why, suddenly, they are concerned about our complying with our leases. Many residents are rightly frightened – and angry.”

Doyle described an 84-year-old tenant whose apartment was inspected within the last few weeks and told that the violations found by the inspectors would justify eviction if not rectified. They told this tenant they would return on October 16th to perform a follow-up inspection. The potential eviction terrified the elderly tenant who waited all day on the 16th, only to call the inspectors and receive a message that inspections would continue another day.

Other complaints about the inspection process include:

  • Tenants being surprised in their beds or in the shower when inspectors entered their apartments without their knowledge once doors were not answered;
  • Inspectors taking photographs inside apartments;
  • Tenants getting just 48 hours’ notice of an inspection – even though leases require “reasonable notice”; and
  • Tenants not being able to schedule a period of time any more specific than 8 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to accompany inspectors.

The elected officials and tenant leaders called for Tishman Speyer to cease and desist with the inspections until their scope is stated more clearly. Additionally, they called for more notice before the inspections and for tenants to have the ability to schedule the hours of the visits.

The elected officials and tenant leaders have consistently fought back against Tishman Speyer’s broad and aggressive legal pursuit of tenants. They set up free legal clinics and free legal housing hotlines to protect rent stabilized residents who have been threatened with legal action for allegedly not living in their apartments as their primary residences. These efforts have significantly slowed Tishman Speyer’s attempt to remake Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village as a primarily market rate community.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your treatment as a tenant within Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, please contact Cameron Peterson in Kavanagh’s office at 212-979-9696, Garodnick’s office at 212-818-0580, or the ST/PCV TA (toll free) at 866-290-9036. You can also access the free legal housing hotline that Kavanagh has established for residents within the 74th Assembly District at 646-459-3023.