Landlords of Kingston apartment complex defend rent hikes – Daily Freeman

KINGSTON, NY – Some residents of the Stony Run at the Stockade apartment complex on Hurley Avenue recently saw their rents increase to rates above 5%, but landlords said the average increase was below that threshold and that improvements continued to be made. goods.

“Since we resumed operations at the property … we have renewed 172 leases at an average increase of 3.24%,” Will Brocker, principal of Aker Cos., said in an email Thursday. He said $2.8 million has been spent so far on improvements to the property, mostly on infrastructure and unit repairs, including work on sewers, roofs, landscaping , common hallways and HVAC system. Currently, the on-site team is installing new playgrounds, a new resident outdoor picnic and cinema area, fitness center, business center, resident lounge, offices for staff and new multi-sport courts, Brocker added.

“The team is in the midst of heavy construction on the property,” Brocker said in a follow-up email Friday. “We are now delivering significant upgrades, repairs, common area upgrades and new amenities that have taken longer than expected due to COVID.”

Brocker and Mike Amato, another Aker Cos. executive, bought Stony Run, Kingston Waterfront apartments in the city’s Rondout neighborhood, and Lakeshore Villas and Black Creek resorts in the town of Esopus for $81 million. dollars in a sale concluded on January 29. , 2021.

The complexes, along with the Sunset Garden Apartments in the city of Ulster, were owned by E&M Management.

Brocker and Amato approached the Common Council last year with a proposal to turn the 266-unit Stony Run complex into workforce housing, rather than the current market-rate housing, but that didn’t work. never advanced. In its proposal, Aker Cos. said it would make $3 million in upgrades to the resort over the next 12 to 24 months.

“Unfortunately, inflation, particularly for materials and labor, has significantly increased our capital and operating costs,” Brocker said of the improvements currently being made. “In order to complete ongoing upgrades and repairs, we have increased renewal rates closer to the inflation we have experienced on the cost side. Despite the increases, we continue to maintain renewal rates well below market rent levels. »

Alderman Barbara Hill, D-Ward 1, said she has received calls from some of the apartment complex’s residents about rent increases, but there is little the city can do to help. .

Earlier this year, Common Council passed for cause eviction legislation which aims to provide security and stability of housing to tenants in Kingston by limiting the grounds on which a landlord can evict them. It also protects Kingston tenants from exorbitant rent increases, according to a fact sheet provided by the city.

The legislation in part requires landlords to justify any rent increase greater than 5% before a court orders an eviction for overdue rent. However, a tenant must face an eviction before the law kicks in.

Mayor Steve Noble, who signed the legislation into effect in late January, said the law empowers those facing eviction due to arbitrary rent increases by creating a new set of defenses in municipal courts.

“Only a judge can order an eviction, and our eviction for cause law allows judges to consider additional factors — including whether a rent hike was ineligible — before authorizing any eviction,” Noble wrote. in an email Thursday.

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