Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 08:19:03 -0500
Subject: Rally to Save Clinton-Hell's Kitchen Sat. Nov. 15 Noon


We apologize that this list has been dormant for the last
two months. For those of you who have asked, the delay is
on our end, not yours (that is, unless you have AOL whose
mail system seems to break quite often.)

As some of you know, Margarita Lopez won the City Council
primary on the Lower East Side in a real squeaker. The
papers reported that her opponent Judy Rapfogel had
won, but an error was discovered in tha tabulation that
gave another few hundred votes for Margarita, and the election.
This was an important race as she takes the seat from
that horror landlord lover Antonio Pagan who ran
unsuccessfully for Borough Prez.

If you're not aware, we also run another web site called
Hell's Kitchen Online at http://hellskitchen.net. Take
a look. We cover the Manhattan neighborhood called Clinton
or Hell's Kitchen, covering the area 34th to 59th Streets,
8th Avenue to the Hudson River. The emphasis is more on
the neighborhood than on tenant issues.

In the last few months we've been concentrating on that
web site and on very important development/housing
issues in the HK neighborhood. That's one of the 
reasons we've we've let the TenantNet list slide a bit.
Home comes first.

So you thought the assault on Rent Regs was over. Think
again. You know who -- the boogeymen -- your landlords --
can come after you in a variety of ways. If they
can't completely get rid of tenant protections, they
can pay politicans to zone you out of existence.
Round Two -- except here we don't have Bruno or Pataki.

If you haven't heard yet, Clinton/Hell's Kitchen is in 
danger. Real danger. Plans are afoot to rezone Eighth 
Avenue to allow massive skyscrapers on the west side of 
the street, invading our neighborhood and sidestreets. 
Other plans involve expanding the Javits Center up to 
42nd Street, Yankee Stadium in southern Hell's Kitchen, 
the Coliseum redevelopment and rezoning the area between 
10th and 12th Avenues, which could allow a Trump-like 
Riverside South.

Progress is fine, but it needs to be rational and it needs
to involve the Clinton/HK community -- not be imposed. Many
community residents have recently come together to form
the "Clinton Special District Coalition" (CSDC) to organize the
community and to work with politicans and the Community
Board.

But right away, there was an Single Room Occupancy (SRO)
Hotel at 300 West 48th Street that was partially demolished 
a few weeks ago. This was done illegally and is a triple-whammy
for this neighborhood.

1. Local Law 19 requires a "Certificate of No Harassment" whenever 
SRO buildings are altered or demolished. See more info at
http://tenant.net/Tengroup/Metcounc/Nov97/sro.html
We're losing SRO's all over the place, and they're an important 
part if this neighborhood's housing.

2. The partially demolished SRO is also in the Special Clinton  
District and the owner had not obtained the required "Certificate 
of No Harassment" that's required for ALL buildings in the District.
See http://hellskitchen.net/comm/csd/clspd.html

3. But most telling, this is on Eighth Avenue, where developers
are lining up and salivating over how to tear down
what they consider a "perimeter" and "expendable"
neighborhood. See http://hellskitchen.net/develop/index.html

CSDC is co-sponsoring a march and rally with councilmember
Tom Duane this coming Saturday, November 15 at Noon, to
enlighten the community of the coming dangers and to 
protest the city's refusal to enforce it's own laws when
it comes to the destruction of housing. We will meet at
the southwest corner of 51st and 8th Avenue and march to
the endangered building (what's left of it) at 48th
and 8th Avenue. Please be there to support your neighborhood and
learn more about what dangers loom and how you can get involved.
If you would like to distribute flyers, please let us know
by emailing csdc@ hellskitchen.net.

We hope to see you Saturday.

When:  Saturday, November 15th at Noon
Where: Meet at the SW corner of 51st Street and 8th Avenue. March down 
       8th Avenue to the endangered building at 48th Street and 8th 
       Avenue.

Hell's Kitchen Matters!
 
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Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 10:10:02 -0500
Subject: Rent Deposit Law Provision Invalidated

[see the decision at http://tenant.net/Court/Hcourt/straniere.pdf in Adobe
Acrobat format. To obtain the free acrobat reader, go to
http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html. If we get the
decision in text/html format, it will be posted on the main TenantNet page.]

Rent Deposit Law Provision Invalidated
Eviction Stay Barred Unless Judgment Is Paid
The New York Law Journal, November 21, 1997
By Matthew Goldstein

In one of the first decisions involving the state's new rent deposit law, a
Staten Island judge has invalidated a provision that requires a tenant to
pay an entire judgment before seeking to stay an eviction.

The ruling from Civil Court Judge Philip S. Straniere comes as lawyers from
The Legal Aid Society and other tenants' rights groups are planning a
challenge to the constitutionality of the law.

The stay provision, Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law 747-a,
provides that if more than five days have passed since a judgment has been
entered against a tenant, a "court shall not" stay an eviction warrant
unless the tenant has either paid the landlord in full, or "deposited the
full amount of such judgment with the clerk of the court."

But Judge Straniere said that provision is unconstitutional because it
violates the due process rights of poor tenants and ties the hands of
judges. The measure precludes tenants without financial means from gaining
access to the courts, he said.

"The court is well aware of the legal strictures that favor a finding that
legislation is constitutional," said Judge Straniere in his Nov. 17 ruling
in Targee Management L.L.C. v. Jones, L&T Index No. 52141/97. "However, a
statute that bases access to the court on an ability to pay is an anathema
to both the United States and New York State Constitution."

Judge Straniere's decision does not address the better-known portion of the
law which requires tenants to deposit their monthly rent checks into a
Housing Court escrow account if they seek a second adjournment in a pending
landlord-tenant dispute.

The law, enacted in June by the Legislature as part of an extension of the
rent-stabilization law, went into effect Oct. 17. Last month a special part
was established in Housing Court to handle rent deposit applications.

Although the case before Judge Straniere stems from a dispute that predates
the new law, he said the stay provision could be applied retroactively,
since the parties signed a stipulation contemplating continued court
supervision. Most judges, according to Legal Aid lawyers, have taken the
position that the law applies only to proceedings commenced after Oct. 17.
Late Payments

The case involves an unrepresented tenant who signed an agreement with her
landlord to pay back rent in monthly installments. The tenant, Atanya
Jones, had paid back $2,600 of the $3,825 she owed. But when she was late
paying an October installment of $388.30 the landlord moved to evict her.

Ms. Jones filed an order to show cause seeking to stay the eviction. The
landlord argued that Judge Straniere did not have the authority under the
new law to sign the order because the tenant had not paid the balance. Her
last payment was scheduled to be made in December.

But Judge Straniere said RPAPL 747-a improperly denied him the
discretionary power to "evaluate each application on its merits." As long
as Ms. Jones paid the October payment he would sign the stay, he said.

"The legislation is overly broad in its application," said Judge Straniere,
who noted the law was passed to prevent tenants from obtaining endless
stays. "This problem could have been remedied by the Legislature writing a
coherent statute that left the court with its historic discretion and gave
it constitutionally acceptable guidelines to apply to end inequities that
were perceived to exist."

Judith Goldiner, a Legal Aid attorney, noted that Judge Straniere's
decision is binding only on judges in Staten Island, adding that tenants'
groups want the law invalidated in all five boroughs.

John Bianco Jr., a partner in Rubel, Rosenblum & Bianco of Rockville
Centre, N.Y. who represented the landlord, said his client was unlikely to
appeal since the judge had subsequently given the tenant until Dec. 1 to
pay the judgment in full.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network for Residential Tenants
  TenantNet:              http://tenant.net
  NYTenants Interactive:  http://nytenant.net
  NYTenants Express:      http://members.aol.com/nytenant
  email:                  
  NYtenants Discussion List: email to  and in 
  the body of the message put "subscribe nytenants".
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant 
activists and is not considered legal advice.

 

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