Thursday, November 12, 2009

Subletting At Roosevelt Island's Westview Mitchell Lama Building - What Impact Does It Have On Affordable Housing Goal?

The Real Deal recently reported on a Coney Island Mitchell Lama housing complex receiving $28 million from New York City and other sources in order to stay affordable:

City officials announced a $21 million deal today to renovate the Luna Park housing complex in Coney Island, under an agreement that would keep the apartments in the Mitchell Lama affordable housing program for another 20 years.

The agreement ends years of controversy about the Coney Island co-op complex. A number of shareholders at the 1,600-unit development had been actively considering a plan to go private, with some actively pushing for a feasibility study on whether to exit the Mitchell Lama program....
Issues of affordability are extremely important to residents of Roosevelt Island's Mitchell Lama buildings at Rivercross, Westview and Island House either in the context of an eventual privatization or keeping the existing rents affordable for middle income residents. That is why the comments from this post on Westview rent hike are so interesting.
I am an illegal subletter in Westview. I rent one bedroom in a 3 bedroom apartment, and I pay market price for my bedroom - 1000 dollars a month with very few rights. I am for example not allowed to receive anybody in the apartment, and have to follow rules that the landlady does not follow herself. Me and the other subletter together cover the whole rent for entire apartment, so that the landlady, who obviously has a $100k+ job, lives rent free.

Before moving into this apartment, I have visited a number of rooms available for sublet all in Westview and Eastwood, as well as what is now called Roosevelt Landings I believe. They all charged market price.

I totally understand that people will defend tooth and nails their entitlements and privileges, and I would do the same if I were in the position.
As a taxpayer, I would probably want these apartments to be deregulated, because why would I subsidize people who make as much or much more than I?
Which elicited this response:
To the last poster- who is an Illegal subletter in Westview- Get Out- you shouldn't be doing that and the leaseholder should be kicked out.

This is against the Mitchell Lama Rules here!!!

I have been in WV for over 20 + years and we- my family and I have never broken ONE RULE.

If you can afford 1K for one bedroom, get your own apt. in Manhattan Park, or get on the waiting list like alot of other people.

If ever reported all the Illegal subletters, they would be kicked out and these apartments would be open to the people who have been on our waiting list for five years or more.

Stop Whining and Leave.

We are fighting for our to preserve some "affordability". Our WV Task Force is currently suing over the last Rent hike of 14.5%.

Whomever all you illegal Subletters are- you all need to be kicked off the Island.
Followed by:
To Anonymous at 10:06 PM who said
"if you can afford 1K for one bedroom, get your own apt. in Manhattan Park."

No apartments at Manhattan Park at 1K. The rent for one bedroom is almost 2K (1.7K) plus extra for electricity. :-(
And finally some sympathy and understanding for the subletter:
To the last poster,

I am sorry, I know it is very hard here and everywhere in NYC.

I have been trashed here for voicing my opinions after more than 25+ years on this island and residing only in Westview.

We know of too many illegal sublets being done by Residents here in WV, Island House, Eastwood, etc.

The holders of the leases of these apartments that do this, the illegal subletting are at fault, not you.

We, my family and I about over 10 years ago wanted to get a subletter the Legal way, where you report anybody and everybody residing in your apt. on your Yearly "Income Affadavit" form required by any tenant in a ML, i.e. Mitchell Lama building, every April.

All the potential subletters did not want to do it, so we didn't get another roomate, instead, we downsized in apt. size.

I think personally in your case, it is disgusting to read that your landlady so to speak is making you and your other roomate pay the rent and they make 100K.

This Building was conceived for "Middle-Working" Class families.

WV was completed in 1977. That is why we have income guidelines, min. and max.

If a resident makes above a certain amount of income, they are surcharged.

My point is, that these people are taking up apartments originally meant for working-middle class families.

Now, WV over the last 15 years or more has all kinds of transplants from Manhattan Park, etc.

We have an outside waiting list that is at least 3-4 years long.

I have friends in Sloan-Kettering that wanted to move onto R.I., ie.-middle-working class and they cannot. They are native New Yorkers and they should be able to move here.

I know that MH-is expensive.

WV is going through alot right now, we are fighting for our homes here and who knows what will happen.

This Island has been destroyed in so many way for stupidity and GREED on part of NYS, the Landlords, etc.

Eastwood, "Roosevelt Landings" is now a disaster due to a horrible deal done there.

I wish you good Luck.
A 2007 New York State Inspector General's Report on Mitchell Lama Housing included a review of Roosevelt Island's Westview building (Page 46 -51). Among the Report's findings:
...These findings raised serious concerns as to whether individuals living in Mitchell-Lama apartments are approved tenants and whether the owners of record are using their apartments as their primary residences. Pursuant to 9 NYCRR § 1727-5.3(a)(9), failing to use the apartment as the principal residence of the tenant and his family is grounds for eviction.


Anonymous said...

Not only grounds for eviction. If they are receiving rental income, that income should reported on the federal and state tax returns. If not, that is tax avoidance. There is even a form for others to report you to the IRS (Form3949A)

Douglas said...

If you are an illegal subletter and you pay more than your pro-rata share of the rent then you can sue your "landlady" for HUGE dollars.
You and your other paying roommate can sue for the overage from your pro rata share of the rent times 3.
Let's assume the rent is $1,500 and you and your roommate pay a total of $2,000. You should only pay $1,000 total so you're overpaying by $1K per month. Let's assume further that you've been there 3 years. So you take the 36 months times $1,000 to get $36,000. Then take the $36K number and multiply it by 3 (treble damages). She could EASILY owe you and your roommate more than $100,000. Call the city agency DHCR for more help. Just call as an anonymous phone caller. 866-Ask-DHCR. You aren't breaking any rules by being there it's your landlady who is breaking the rules. I don't know of any rules that prohibit your behavior only rules that prohibit your landlady's behavior. In other words there are no penalties to you for doing what your doing. The overcharge lawsuits are basically free to file and you can get a legal aide rep to help or find a not for profit attorney.
Personally I find it stupid that you are the one who can sue and get the money - the real landlord should be the one who should get the money. But the laws are the laws and most likely you're entitled to huge money.

Anonymous said...

Well it does not matter anymore, I just moved out 2 weeks ago. That nuts wanted to increase my rent to $1200, probably because of the recent rent hike at Westview. Moved pronto to Brooklyn where rent is below 900...


Good Luck in Brooklyn