Moinian responds to tenant critics
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.
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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