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Moinian responds to tenant critics

6:54 pm, November 6, 2012

JOE MOINIAN

The Moinian Group, one of New York City’s largest real estate owners and developers, announced it will provide rent credits to all office, retail and residential tenants who were displaced from Moinian-owned and managed properties by Hurricane Sandy listed below.
The announcement was made by Joseph Moinian, the company’s founder and CEO.
The Moinian Group, which owns 20 million square feet of office, retail, hotel and residential property in the United States, has a large concentration of assets in lower Manhattan, an area deeply affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“We are dedicating all our resources to the speedy return of our tenants to their homes and places of business. The damage to properties throughout the Tri-State area has been unprecedented, and we are committed to the complete restoration of our properties,” Moinian said.
“We have the utmost respect and concern for our tenants, and we are dedicated to their safety, comfort and efficiency. We are doing everything in our power and working closely with the City and the Department of Buildings, Con Ed, Time Warner, Verizon and other service providers to restore our tenants to full service and occupancy in our properties.”
Moinian said The Moinian Group will provide rent credit in the December billings to office, retail and residential tenants for every day they are not able to use their space within buildings that are owned and managed by The Moinian Group.

90 JOHN STREET

These properties include: 90 John Street; 100 John Street; 90 Washington; W New York Downtown Hotel and Residences at 123 Washington Street; the Ocean at 1 West Street; 17 Battery South; 17 Battery North; and the commercial component of 19 West Street.
“Our tenants deserve the very best from us and I am extremely proud of the hard work, care and time The Moinian Group team is dedicating to returning them to their homes and places of business,” Mr. Moinian said. “Our property managers, on-site building staff and executive team have been working around the clock in the service of our tenants. We all look forward to welcoming them back home as soon as possible.”

 

*  The Moinian Group issued the following statement in response to criticism of their handling of Hurricane Sandy disruptions:

ConEdison hopes to complete its work tonight (Wednesday), at which point all building systems can be tested  management to ensure they are in safe working order.

If all systems check out, tenants should be able to return to the building within the week, but we still can’t offer them a definitive timeline until all systems are checked out.

The basement and lobby at 90 Washington was flooded, which took several days to pump out before the damage could be evaluated. Con Edison equipment that was submerged in salt water needs to be replaced before power can be restored to the building.

This storm was an unprecedented event, and ownership began communicating with residents via the property’s BuildingLink communications portal on Sunday, October 28 when the City ordered a mandatory evacuation of Zone A properties that included 90 Washington and several other of The Moinian Group’s downtown properties. These updates continued before, during and after the storm.

For many residents and building staff, email, phone, internet and cell service was down once Con Ed cut the power on Monday or limited during this period prior to and during the height of the storm. Signs were posted in the building lobby, but many tenants questions just could not be answered until the extent of the damage was evaluated.

Effective November 6, special hotline numbers were also set up from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. to answer tenant questions had about temporary housing options, short term hotel options, transportation, car rental, etc.  A special storm update email address was also established.

Tenants at 90 Washington signed a standard REBNY lease that outlines their rights in the case of fire or other such casualty as the storm . During the storm and in the immediate aftermath some tenants were immediately asking questions regarding rent credits and lease cancellation that could not be answered by available personnel trying to address the damage at the time.

The REBNY lease clause on Fire or Casualty clearly states that after 30 days, if apartments are unusable, tenant has a right to cancel their lease, but since the 30 day period has not yet been reached, building personnel could not address the issue of lease terminations.

When it became apparent that many tenants were unaware of the terms of their lease, The Moinian Group sent out a notice both to tenants and in the press that they would be providing rent credits for days affected tenants in their buildings were uninhabitable.

Any discussion of lease terminations are still premature as we have not reached the threshold established in those leases.

Tenants were provided an information hotline and individual responses to inquiries about alternative short term housing options, which were limited, as all of The Moinian Group’s downtown residential properties were without power. Douglas Elliman assisted in providing this information but with thousands of displaced residents, options were limited. This effort is ongoing.

The Moinian Group and Douglas Elliman completely understand the hardship being faced by tenants, and their frustration when immediate answers are not available, but we are doing everything  we can to expedite the process.

 

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  • http://twitter.com/twatan Natan Edelsburg

    Here’s what’s really going on at 90 Washington Street. While we’ve finally received a timeline update, been communicated what security company is guarding our building and offered this credit, we still haven’t been given an update on alternative housing that we were told was being looked into. http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2012/11/a_displaced_downtowner_offers_his_two_cents_to_management_and_residents_alike

  • Awad

    This is by far the most shameful real estate group. As a current tenant of one of their properties, 90 Washington, I am in utter shock at the negligence and disrespect of the Moinian Group. Not only did it take them over a week to announce the rent credits for November rent, it also takes them several days to provide a simple update in regards to any recent developments in their buildings. Thousands of their tenants are currently displaced, and they are not providing any alternative housing options or even a reliable means of communication.

    Mr. Moinian, the facts prove that you have absolutely no respect for your tenants.

  • Ali

    This made my blood boil. I am currently a resident of 90Washington Street, and it’s now been 13 days since I’ve been able to live in my home. The real story is as follows: In our leases, it says that Moinian Group must credit us for each day the building is unlivable. After ignoring our requests for rent reductions for over a week despite this legal claus, and automatically charging our credit cards for November rent, Moinian finally agreed to the credit, and then clearly spent time and resources making the despicable Joe Moinian look like a hero in articles like these.

    On top of that, when we asked for alternate housing, they said nothing was available – but then proceeded to offer us rooms in their other luxury buildings for $400/NIGHT. One might infer that they are trying to take advantage of displaced residents during the worst natural disaster New York has ever seen.

    The days pass by, and we still lack a clear sense of when we can move back into our homes. Moinian will not address the idea of letting residents break their lease, and continue to ignore our emails and concerns about this despicable situation.

    To whoever wrote this article, i encourage you to ask the Moinian Group about the aforementioned and shed light upon what’s really going on.

  • Ali

    This made my blood boil. I am currently a resident of 90Washington Street, and it’s now been 13 days since I’ve been able to live in my home. The real story is as follows: In our leases, it says that Moinian Group must credit us for each day the building is unlivable. After ignoring our requests for rent reductions for over a week despite this legal claus, and automatically charging our credit cards for November rent, Moinian finally agreed to the credit, and then clearly spent time and resources making the despicable Joe Moinian look like a hero in articles like these.

    On top of that, when we asked for alternate housing, they said nothing was available – but then proceeded to offer us rooms in their other luxury buildings for $400/NIGHT. One might infer that they are trying to take advantage of displaced residents during the worst natural disaster New York has ever seen.

    The days pass by, and we still lack a clear sense of when we can move back into our homes. Moinian will not address the idea of letting residents break their lease, and continue to ignore our emails and concerns about this despicable situation.

    To whoever wrote this article, i encourage you to ask the Moinian Group about the aforementioned and shed light upon what’s really going on.

  • MM

    What is happening right now at 90W is absolutely unacceptable. When looking for a place to live, one thing that every tenant looks for is safety and reliability. You will not find a single tenant at 90W that is getting either of these right now.

    In the past week tenants of 90W have had zero support from management. Generic emails go out every few days, with no real answers and no direct timeline. The fact that over 390 units are displaced and our doormen are being asked to sleep in the lobby with no heat and no power is absolutely heartbreaking.

    Things got so bad that a group of tenants (myself included) started emailing management daily for answers, only to be ignored or be given incorrect information. At this point no one is answering any of our questions. Other buildings in the area have set up alternate housing for their tenants, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds – but 90W hasnt done anything. As a result there are thousands of people displaced – many with children, pets, etc.

    My advice to 90W is that they start reading their emails, because there will be a law suit on the way before they know it and it all could have been avoided had their just answered our emails.

  • http://twitter.com/Olto Olto

    This article couldn’t be further from the truth and it would behoove you as a reporter to get the real facts before you post a story like this. As it stands there are hundreds of tenants from 90 Washington alone who have no ETA on our arrival. It took the Moinian Group / Prudential Douglas Elliman more than a week to acknowledge the clause in our contract that clearly states that we are allowed to get money back in situations like this. I’m upset that they are somehow getting positive press but more upset that they did absolutely nothing to mitigate this disaster before it started and have done almost nothing since.

  • 90W Tenant

    Moinian is unaware of his own lease terms! Here’s a relevant clause to which 90W Tenant’s agreed and signed to:

    “Fire or Casualty: A. If the apartment becomes unusable, in part or totally, because of fire, accident, or other casualty, this Lease will continue unless ended by Owner under C below or by You under D below. But the rent will be reduced immediately. This reduction will be based upon the part of the Apartment which is unusable…”D. If the Apartment is completely unusable because of fire, accident or other casualty and it is not repaired in 30 days, You may give Owner written notice that You end the lease. ”
    _____
    The rent was not reduced immediately, it was not reduced the moment the apartment became unusable. (the building was deemed uninhabitable on Oct.29, 3 days before our November rents were due). Our apartments have been unusable for three weeks now. Rent was demanded, and some of us have already paid it. They even sent us an email saying they will not be able to credit us until they know how many days to credit us for. Also, waiving the late fee for November rents does not constitute an “immediate reduction of rent.” They are essentially withholding our rent until they figure out their Math. I could be using this money to find living accommodations or transportation into the city.

  • 1West

    ‘The Moinian Group and Douglas Elliman completely understand the hardship being faced by tenants, and their frustration when immediate answers are not available, but we are doing everything we can to expedite the process’

    What a joke. 1 West Street has been without power for exactly one month today. The generic emails sent once a day promise ’round the clock’ work yet used generators were only just received yesterday. Per usual, the promise to move us back home today was pushed back a few more days. All we want is honesty yet Moinian and Douglas Elliman have desperately failed to provide even that. I would be very surprised to learn of any tenants renewing a lease with these companies. They did offer to waive late fees for overdue rent checks though!

  • Crocker

    I think many would beg to differ. Multiple complaints have been reported to 311, department of buildings, the Better Business Bureau and The Manhattan Borough President’s office. Tenants even had NY1 come out today to see the lies first hand. Scott Stringer had to get involved to force them to be honest with tenants and to take necessary action.

    Would you say that this email from one of the managers shows the best the Moinian’s have to offer? or how about their ““utmost respect and concern for our tenants, and we are dedicated to their safety, comfort and efficiency.” This was the response after someone said they needed to break their lease, they were told the service elevator could not be scheduled because it was not working.

    On Nov 30, 2012, at 2:20 PM, Kim Cafaro wrote:

    Technically you terminated your lease back to the date of casualty which in October 28th. We deem surrender of your apartment letter and keys.

    Kimberly Cafaro
    Managing Director Residential Assets
    The Moinian Group
    530 5th Avenue
    New York, NY 10036

  • Crocker