New York City residents are very familiar with the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, the largest apartment complex in Manhattan. In fact, some of our readers may have even applied for an apartment there in the past few years. Given a recent story, and depending on how that application turned out, you may be thrilled you didn't get that apartment; or cursing that you did.
The Stuyvesant informed more than 1,000 of their tenants on May 14 that a massive spike in rent would be occurring on June 1. The 49 percent increase in rent was not only shocking simply because of the number -- it was also out of line with what the owners had previously stated.
Many tenants were informed, in writing, that mid-lease rent increases (which are allowed per the Stuyvesant's lease) would not occur in the near future. This incident is also part of a wider set of controversies surrounding the apartment complex.
The previous owners of the apartment were accused of "deregulating" a number of their apartments, resulting in a large legal settlement; the debt those former owners were carrying after paying more than $5 billion for the Stuyvesant forced them to default; and that resulted in the current owners taking over, who are driving up rent to try to pay for the complex, in addition to making improvements to the property.
Remember that, as a tenant, you have a number of rights. New York laws that govern rent control and rent hikes are complicated. That may make a tenant more inclined to just accept rent hikes because the landlord "must be right." But, in many situations, that isn't the case. You can contest illegal or improper rent modifications that infringe on your rights as a tenant.
Source: New York Times, "Manhattan's Biggest Apartment Complex Agrees to Drop Some Rent Increases," Charles V. Bagli, June 18, 2013