Yesterday the interim agreement that rolled back the rent on 4,400 Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartments to hastily calculated rent-stabilized amounts expired, and now no one is really sure how much a Stuy Town apartment should rent for! At least until lingering legal issues are settled, and a post-Stuypocalypse apartment-by-apartment study can be conducted. But, oh, friends, there are ideas. Confusing ones. That somehow result in one-bedroom apartments being valued at over $4,000 per month. Over on City Room, Charles Bagli, the man tasked with trying to write a book about this whole mess, attempts to explain. Try to follow along:
Tenant advocates generally take the position that the rent for a one-bedroom apartment renting for $3,500 in 2010 should be rolled back to 2006 levels to, for the sake of this example, $2,800 per month. The landlord also would be required to refund any money paid by a tenant above $2,800 a month, or as much as $9,000 a year. But landlords are arguing that the rollback to 2006 is only the first step in arriving at what the legal rents should be today. They contend that they are entitled to every conceivable bump in rent allowed under the city’s Rent Guidelines Board.
If the apartment in the example was vacant twice during the intervening years, the landlord under this argument would be entitled to raise the rent by 40 percent — 20 percent each time — from $2,800 to $3,920.
During the four years, the landlord would also have been able to raise the rent by 6 percent, or $235.20, according to rent regulations, which would bring the legal rent in 2010 to $4,155.20 a month. Not only is that more than the rent charged today, but it is also a number that would absolve the landlord of having to pay a rebate.
One tenant lawyer tells City Room, "The landlords are looking to get immunized from rent overcharges using this methodology ... I don't think they seriously believe they can get anymore in rent than they're getting now." Accounting hijinks or not, can this thing go co-op already? We thought we were through with math homework after high school.
· Large Gulf Remains in Stuyvesant Town Rent Case [City Room]
· Stuyvesant Town coverage [Curbed]