Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Yonkers Riverview II Files Revised Procedures to Evict Tenants for Alleged Nonpayment of Bills for Submetered Electric Service

The Related Companies, owner of Yonkers Riverview II, filed revised procedures and model notices for eviction of tenants who have not paid charges for electric service. The May 7, 2010 filing by the landlord includes a sample notice regarding non payment of electric service charges which states:
Please remit $XX.XX by MM!DD/YY [15 days later] or we will commence summary proceedings in accordance with New York law to enforce our rights and seek a warrant of eviction.
A February 18, 2010 PSC Order indicated that the owner attempted to evict 80 tenants alleging nonpayment of charges for electric service, yet the PSC allowed submetering to continue, denying a petition of the tenants. Some lower court decisions indicate that landlords cannot evict tenants for non payment of bills for submetered electric service.

The tenants' petition for rehearing is pending. It points out that the PSC order, which allows owners to evict for non payment of electric service if they first give HEFPA notices, owners may circumvent the HEFPA procedures and simply allocate partial tenant payments to cover the electric service first, and then seek to evict for nonpayment of the balance of rent due.

The owner's response to the tenants' petition indicates that the utility allowances established after submetering began do not cover the costs of electric service for 46% of the tenants. When electric charges for electric heat are not offset by utility allowances, additional economic pressure is placed on tenants, particularly those with low incomes. As a result, submetering may contribute to hardship faced by low income households and to their displacement from previously affordable housing.

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