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25% increase in rent!

Posted by Mark Hollis on September 20, 2000 at 14:50:42:

Where: New York, Manhattan, West Village
Building built: 1890s.
Lease: Written, annual renewals.
Number of units: 23.
Type: Co-op with largest shareholder being the "former owner."

Today, I am in receipt of the annual lease extension I have received from Buchbinder and Warren (a company that owns a lot of buildings in the West Village). They have, in the past, had a problem getting the figures right but this time they've gone off the deep end.

I currently pay $1200/monthly in rent for a very small one-bedroom in a tenement 5-story walkup. The building has been "Co-oped" but is managed by the "former" owner who also owns most of the shares in the building -- certainly all of the outstanding shares on unsold apartments.

NYU students all would kill to get apartments in this building and market rate for this building is between $1600 and $1800 per small 1-BR. Some of these one-bedroom apartments have been cut up so that they have three bedrooms (the one just below me has been so treated).

I recognize that I'm paying "below market value" and that I have an investment in staying here. I have been here for six years and have renewed consistently.

I believe that when Buchbinder and Warren "Co-oped" this building, they did so for the purpose of collecting market rents, as the building before it was "Co-oped" was rented under rent control. Some of the older tenants are paying around $350/monthly. I realize this is a scam and I'm unsure of its legality. Everyone in the building pays rent to someone different: I pay mine to "Four Buckies," a law firm collects for a rent-controlled tenant, the downstairs apartment is rented by still another entity. All have the same address: One Union Square West, New York. This kind of action really sets my "scam-o-meter" off as it is a clear indication that the landlord is evading rent control laws.

But the 25% rent hike offer is pretty blatant. I can afford $1600/mo in rent, but I don't believe I'm receiving any value for that. All previous rent hikes have been in the amount of $50.00/month on a yearly basis.

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