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  • 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

    340 & 344 West 17th Street as well as 343 West 16th Street are now ALL owned and managed by Chelsea Ventura/Ventura Land Corp. and I cannot warn people enough about this landlord. My neighbor just told me that her rent increase was 11.7%. This is supposed to be a rent stabilized building! Aside from retaining a lawyer, what can she do? This company is nothing more than white collar thieves. I had so many problems with lack of repairs, no heat, the superintendent walking into my apartment without knocking while I was undressed, etc., etc.
    I am so tired of this problem in NYC. It's seems so typical here. What can we do???

  • #2
    Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

    Hi ToughbutSweet... somebody posted a link to a web site that really slammed a large landlord in the city - I can't remember if it was this one or not though. I'm curious if your neighbor's rent was over $2,000. Don't "price controls" phase out for rents over $2,000?

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    • #3
      Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

      I think my neighbor was paying under $2000 until this increase... Please let me know of any information you may find.

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      • #4
        Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

        Originally posted by Jonathan View Post
        Hi ToughbutSweet... somebody posted a link to a web site that really slammed a large landlord in the city - I can't remember if it was this one or not though. I'm curious if your neighbor's rent was over $2,000. Don't "price controls" phase out for rents over $2,000?
        Hey Jonathan, about that "luxury decontrol": apparently this does happen when your rent hits $2,000, but only if your annual salary is over a certain point... which I'll never get to in this lifetime, So I'm not worried about it going WAY out of control after it hits $2,000. Also, there's something called SCRIE: "Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption." Lots of paperwork involved in applying, but I'm sure it's worth it!

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        • #5
          Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

          Jonathan
          Rent stablization ends when your rent hits $2000/month and your household income for the 2 previous years are in excess of $175,000. So if you never make over the $175,000 you remain stabilized. You will be sent forms at the time your rent hits the $2000 mark and they MUST be filled out timely. Lanlords jump at the chance for you not to file because if you don't they can destabilize.

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          • #6
            Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

            Originally posted by JimR View Post
            Jonathan
            Rent stablization ends when your rent hits $2000/month and your household income for the 2 previous years are in excess of $175,000. So if you never make over the $175,000 you remain stabilized. You will be sent forms at the time your rent hits the $2000 mark and they MUST be filled out timely. Lanlords jump at the chance for you not to file because if you don't they can destabilize.
            Thanks for the reminder, Jim! I'm aware that the proper paperwork must be filed in a timely fashion and undoubtedly the landlord will be salivating at the thought of getting another apartment "decontrolled." That's right, the salary mark is $175,000 and I'll never make that,

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            • #7
              Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

              Everyone must remember that the rent laws that authorize control and stablization "sunset" in 2011. If the state doesn't reauthorize the law, we all better find big refrigerator boxes to move into.

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              • #8
                Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

                Jim....I didn't know that. What an impending disaster for all us tenants. Better start packing now...it'll take about 4 years.

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                • #9
                  Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

                  "Rent overcharges: Tenants should be aware that many landlords will exploit the complexity of these guidelines and bonuses...to charge an illegal rent...The first step is to contact DCHR to see the offical record of the rent history. Go to www.dhcr.state.ny.us or call 718 739 6400 and ask for a detailed rent history. Then speak to a knowledgeable advocate before proceeding..."

                  This is from Tenant published by Met Council. Back issues of this publication can be viewed at www.metcouncil.net.

                  For those having a question abouth their rights ,Metcouncil has a telephone hotline Mon,Wed Fri 1:30-5pm. Call 212 979 0611

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                  • #10
                    Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

                    Thanks for the info you guys. I didn't realize there was an income component to rent stabilization. I wonder if that component applies to people who move into apartments where the rent is already over $2000 when they move in?

                    Also, I don't think anyone needs to worry about any NY politician letting these laws expire in 2011.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

                      "Also, I don't think anyone needs to worry about any NY politician letting these laws expire in 2011."

                      The problem is that NYC dosen't fully control its own destiny in this area (or many others) since the State Legislature in Albany passes laws concerning rent regulation. The City definately bears a lot of responsibility, but the way things are done Albany's involvement is also key. And real estate interests in the city are notorious for making very hefty contributions to politicians of all stripes locally and upstate. In this case the old saw that "money talks" is very true.

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                      • #12
                        Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

                        Thanks for the info you guys. I didn't realize there was an income component to rent stabilization. I wonder if that component applies to people who move into apartments where the rent is already over $2000 when they move in?
                        No the rent component does not apply if you start at $2000 or more. It is destabilized

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                        • #13
                          Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

                          Thanks JimR. And to SNAP's point, I don't see it happening as long as Spitzer is in office (although he seems to have made some "Republican" type moves lately). And as long as at least one House in the state legislature is Democratic. And even if both houses went Republican I don't even see Republicans overturning rent control.

                          Giuliani tried desperately to get rid of it and even he ended up backing down in the face of immense political pressure. While politicians need contributions to keep them in office and they seem generally willing to do just about anything to get those contributions - there is usually one thing they won't do. And that is anything they fear will rile the public up so much that they'll actually remember it come election time. And I think overturning rent control in NYC would be something that would do just that.

                          Tip to Politicians: I just had a funny thought. If the politicians would think one more step down the road they'd realize that if they timed it right, that the people who wouldn't vote for them if they lifted rent control would no longer live in their districts! They would have moved out due to high rents. Of course that would only leave rich Republicans in their districts and they'd get thrown out anyway!

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                          • #14
                            What's the real goal of rent control/stabilization?

                            I think the basic premise of rent controls misses the point. If the goal is to have a community with people of different income levels and backgrounds, rent control is the worst way to do it. The basic math is that it costs a certain amount of money to run a building (electric, gas, maintenance, staff, repairs) and make a reasonable profit. These expenses will go up every year with the cost of living. The problem with rent control limiting increases in rent is that in times of higher inflation when costs go up more than the rents is that the landlord can't charge more to all tenants to make up increased expenses, a la normal free market means. So, what happens? The landlord either operates at a loss or finds other ways to make up the difference, i.e., scrimping on maintenance and upkeep and amenities, and reductions to staffing. The other way is to charge newer tenants as much as possible to make up the difference, in essence charging "above market" to new residents to subsidize tenants in the building longer with rent controls. This a hidden transfer of income in effect, a sort of hidden ?tax?.

                            Also, with this system there is a huge incentive to 'cheat' and try to evict tenants by any means possible to get new tenants that pay more, i.e., drive current tenants crazy to get them out, or use legalistic tricks like failure to return the proper paperwork on time, etc. There is no real way around it, it costs x dollars to run the building and the income stream from the rentals needs to pay for it, the math is pretty simple.

                            Rent control really becomes a ?last one in? paying a subsidy to the ?first ones in?, a real income transfer that not only helps the old lady on a pension (desireable), but helps the six-figure salary professional that happened to get dear old ma?s rent controlled apartment (not desireable). It?s an inherently unfair system.

                            As a personal anecdote, the only people I know that have rent controlled apartments do quite well for themselves and really don?t deserve a rent subsidy. I?m sure there are plenty of pensioners or people with modest means that rent control helps, but the system is inherently unfair. When I moved to NYC in 2000, I was stuck paying a huge $2800/mo. rent in a rent-stabilized apartment in that tight market. My neighbors in the identical apartment were paying $1900/ mo., Why? Rent stabilization. The basic effect is that newbies to the city pay for an established residents? subsidy.

                            So, what?s the problem and what?s the fairest and most effective solution?

                            Assuming the goal is income and skill diversity in the community (not an island populated solely by bankers, executive and trust fund kids), it?s probably some form of subsidy based on income and need that is not tied to the apartment itself, such as housing vouchers for desired individuals (teachers, police, fire fighters, artists, students, etc.). The vouchers are ?paid? to the landlord as part of the rent. The problem here is that the government gets involved in taxing and subsidizing, not very popular. Also, who decides the criteria? Income? Residency length? Job? That?s why the rent control and rent stabilization laws are so popular, it?s easy for the politicians to promise, there are ?no new taxes?, just a hidden tax of private subsidy.

                            A tough nut, eh?

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                            • #15
                              Re: 340 West 17th - LANDLORD!

                              Hey Kurt, long time no see! Good to see you here again!

                              And I totally agree with you 100% on everything you said. I couldn't have said it better myself! I have observed the same thing as you that the newcomers are actually paying subsidies to the old timers. Same as you I realized that when I found out I was paying nearly $1500 more a month for the same apartment than other people in my building. It didn't take long to figure out the landlord had to charge us newbies a lot more to subsidize those who were paying a lot less.

                              I think you're the only other person I've ever "met" in Manhattan who seemed to understand that!

                              It's interesting that Manhattan and San Francisco both have similar rent control schemes and they both are I think the two most expensive cities in America! I wish people could put two and two together. In other cities, that have no rent control they are not only much cheaper, but the apartments are much nicer!

                              I don't think most Manhattanites realize this, but if they compare how they live to how people in the rest of the country live - Manhattan is almost like living in a third-world country. Seriously. Not much exaggeration there! The rest of America lives like Kings & Queens compared to us!

                              I also agree with you on the problem of using government to decide who should be able to live in Manhattan. The flaw in our thinking here is that anyone should decide who lives where. It should be left up to the free market like it is everywhere else. I know that idea might horrify some of you Chelseans, but that's how it's done in almost every other city in America. And those other cities seem to work pretty well. Maybe the poor blue collar workers don't get to live in the ritziest part of town (which in this case would be called Manhattan), but they can live pretty close and their apartments are far nicer than yours and mine!

                              So what if a cop can't afford to live in the tony Las Colinas section of Dallas? People generally understand there are places they can't afford to live and they simply live elsewhere. Just like most of us do.

                              I've also found that people who live in these massively subsidized apartments (one of my neighbors pays $113 a month for a 2 bedroom in Chelsea!), aren't the most motivated people workwise (and I'm not talking about the ones who have retired). I've known many people in these apartments and almost to a one, none of them had what most of us would call a real job. Most have been waitresses and bartenders who worked off and on whenever they felt the need. I've only known one person living in subsidized housing who actually worked full time in what was actually a real career. She didn't make much money, but it was a good job and she did work full time.

                              But overall, living in subsidized housing seems to rob people of any motivation to work! I'M NOT SAYING ALL!!!! But I am saying almost all of the ones I've known.

                              Obviously, it wouldn't be a good idea to suddenly do away with rent control and start kicking people out. But rent control/stabilization whatever, should definitely be gradually phased out, say over a 15-20 year period.

                              If rent control was phased out and building regulations were relaxed to make it easier to renovate existing buildings and build new ones most of you I don't think could even imagine how good things could be housing-wise within a couple of decades. Builders as they always do would ultimately overbuild and create an excess in housing supply which would cause rents to fall for everybody - not just the chosen few. They would keep the buildings up better, they would provide more amenities and we'd all live better and cheaper. Well, those on rent control wouldn't live cheaper, but it would be a much fairer system.

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