Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Roosevelt Island Resident Receives Great Thanksgiving Week News - Wins Riverwalk Park Affordable Housing Lottery Apartment And Current Roosevelt Landings Landlord Allows Her Out Of Current Lease

Roosevelt Island resident Rodica Miller thought she hit the jackpot when she learned  her lottery application for an apartment in the Roosevelt Island Hudson Related Riverwalk Park affordable housing building was selected. But there was a problem - getting out of her existing lease recently renewed this summer at Roosevelt Landings.

According to Ms Miller:

I am a public-school special education teacher residing in one of the Roosevelt Landings buildings since 2018 (when it was still managed by Urban American). My lease came up for renewal in August, and I signed a 2-year lease without thinking much of it. We were and still are in the middle of a pandemic, and I thought that staying put was the safest option. I am a very low-maintenance tenant. I pay my rent through automatic payments and I never complain (even when I should). 

Last April, I applied for one of the affordable housing units at the new development at 460 Main Street. I didn’t think much of it, knowing that the odds are hardly in my favor. After I had already renewed my lease, I heard back from Related and Riverwalk Park that my lottery log number had come up. I went through the tedious process of compiling all the documents needed to check my eligibility. As I started to hope that I might actually qualify and be offered an apartment, I never thought that my biggest hurdle would be breaking up with my current Landlord. 

Trying to be proactive, I reached out to C+C Management while I was still in the final phase of approval for affordable housing (on November 2nd, to be exact). I specifically asked them about the terms/clauses for an early lease termination. I explained my situation and that I was offered a great opportunity. One of their Leasing Managers, responded that she will check with Senior Management, but that I will have to re-assign my lease. It wasn’t clear whether Senior Management came up with this resolution, or the Leasing Manager. 

On November 11th, I received confirmation from Rivewalk Park that I was approved by the City for a one-bedroom apartment! I followed-up the next day with the Leasing Manager, asking what the response was from the elusive Senior Management. Once again, she was unmovable that my only option was to re-assign my lease. She also stated that I cannot terminate my lease early unless I am experiencing hardship due to COVID (aren’t we all?). I mulled over this and I sent her a stronger-worded email on November 16th. Please see her response below:

The renewal is a continuation of your original lease with UA, without a termination rider within that lease the only option that can be offered is lease re-assignment. Residents can advertise their apartments on any housing websites and once a qualified person is found C&C Managers then qualifies the person. I understand that this is an opportunity you don’t want you to lose, and we do not want you to lose it. However, there is no other option to offer. Had this lottery been within C&C Managers there would be more options, but since it is not you would need to re-assign.

I feel like I am living in a Kafka novel. I won the lottery (literally), but I can’t claim my reward. 

Ms Miller contacted local politicians and media for help. 

Last Friday, I inquired of Roosevelt Landings C+C Management representatives:

I've been in contact with a Roosevelt Island resident, Rodica Miller, who was selected in the Riverwalk Park affordable housing apartment lottery. 

She says she is a current tenant at Roosevelt Landings, having renewed her lease this past summer during the Covid 19 pandemic. 

She says that CC Management will not permit an early termination of her current Roosevelt Landings lease to move into the new apartment in the affordable housing Riverwalk Park building but can try to assign it to a new tenant. 

She was told by a RE Agent that the current rent is 30% above current market and unlikely to find a new tenant at that price. 

Does Roosevelt Landings have any comment on this matter?

Yesterday, a C+C spokesperson replied:

C+C typically does not allow mid-term lease breaks, but Ms. Miller now has an opportunity to live in affordable housing, which we won't deny her. Due to the unusual nature of her lease-break request, we are happy to grant an exception to our policy so Ms. Miller can move into her new apartment and avoid any undue financial hardship."

Upon learning of the good news, Ms Miller writes:

I just received a phone call and an email from C+C Management and they agree to terminate my lease early. I’m so excited and relieved! Thank you so much for your help!

Also, Rebecca Seawright’s office responded right away and offered me a free legal clinic. I was impressed by their prompt follow-up. The person from C+C Management who contacted me was Doryne Isley. She was super nice and she wrote me a lovely email. So happy it all worked out! 

I recently took a tour of Ms Miller's new home at the Riverwalk Park affordable housing building and it looks like a great place to live. You can take this virtual tour of the amenities and model apartments at the new Roosevelt Island affordable housing building developed by Hudson Related.


Stay tuned for more news and video about Riverwalk Park