NEW YORK --Thousands of tenants living in the apartments in Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village are facing big rent hikes in the middle of their current leases. Increases range from hundreds of dollars to over $1,000 a month. As you might imagine, tenants are not happy. Most got the bad news via a notice slipped under the door. 'Oh there's no way, it's a thousand dollars a year. That's 12-thousand dollars a year," said tenant Jennifer Lutz. 'We signed a 2 year lease, we've been here for 1 year and our rent just went up 700 dollars," said tenant Heidi Fredrick. Wednesday, angry tenants rallied, vowing to fight the hike, which comes after a settlement in a long-running legal battle over the sprawling complex. It gives the owner, CW Capital, the right to raise rents on nearly 4,000 units. "We are going to be working to make this point loud and clear to CW Capital," said City Councilman Daniel Garodnick. "They are not going to come in here, simply withdraw cash and walk away." Perhaps signaling that tenants' concerns are being heard, there was this statement from property owner CW Capital: "We recognize the timing of these increases may pose logistical challenges for some residents. In recognition of this, we are extending the date on which the increase will go into effect by 30 days." 'I'm not paying them and I'm not leaving, I'll tell you that much," said Lutz. "You're not gonna be kicking me out of my home. I'll be sitting right there." The extension means residents have until July 1st instead of June 1st to either pay the new rent or decide whether they're going to move out. Among the options being considered by the tenants is a possible rent strike.
May 15, 2013 3:25:30 PM PDT
By Sandra Bookman and Eyewitness News