Peter Cooper Tenants Demand Rent Cuts Over Sandy-Shuttered Laundry Rooms

By Heather Holland on February 11, 2013 2:23pm 

PETER COOPER VILLAGE — The laundry rooms at Peter Cooper Village were knocked down for the count after Sandy and may take close to a year to bring back online, according to building management — prompting tenants to demand a rent reduction for lost services.

On Friday, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association notified the management company that it would seek a rent reduction for the loss of the basement storage and laundry rooms, among other services lost due to storm damage.

“The residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village have been extremely understanding of the challenges associated with remediating the property after Hurricane Sandy,” John Marsh, president of the tenants association, said in a written statement. “Today, three months later, many tenants are still without essential services and are told they will be without them for many more months to come."

The tenants group is filing a rent-reduction claim with the New York State Housing and Community Renewal agency for a decrease in services under the Rent Stabilization Law.

“Even if the owner were working earnestly to correct these problems, which is difficult to discern considering their lack of communication, there is no reason for tenants to be paying for services they do not have,” Marsh added.

The laundry rooms have been out of commission since Oct. 31 2012, and Compass Rock Real Estate, which owns the complex, recently notified tenants that basements and most laundry rooms in Peter Cooper Village may not be available to tenants again until September 2013.

“Reopening the laundry rooms remains a top priority,” Compass Rock notified tenants in a written note distributed on Jan. 25. “We are hopeful that we can provide access to laundry rooms before basements are fully complete and are considering multiple strategies to accomplish this goal.”

Compass Rock Real Estate did not respond to requests for comment.

One of the larger laundry rooms at 2 Peter Cooper Road for residents in affected buildings to share reopened in late January, but tenants say the high demand has turned the shared washers and driers into a battleground.

“I’ve been going to the laundromat because there’s too much bickering in the bigger laundry room,” said Lynn Fox, 66, a 25-year resident of the complex.

Fox added that the amount of money she spends on laundry has skyrocketed since the outages.

“The laundromats are much more expensive. In my case, the amount of money I have to spend has tripled. It’s a hardship,” she said.

One tenant said the Building 2 laundry room was so crowded she has resorted to hand-washing her laundry to avoid the crowd.

“It’s like going back to World War II times,” said Renate Brand, an 82-year-old resident. “It’s inconvenient and it takes more money to take it away and do it somewhere else.”

Others said they’d rather fork over extra quarters, if necessary, to go outside the complex for laundry services to avoid the overcrowded laundry room.

Still, a few residents said they had found cheaper alternatives to the Peter Cooper Village laundry rooms, and claimed they wouldn’t go back even if they become available.

“[The laundry rooms in Peter Cooper Village] have older machines that are falling apart, and the Cooper Laundromat has modern machines that do a much better job,” said Chris Keller, 48, a resident of Peter Cooper Village. “I’m actually grateful about it. I’ll never go back.”

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