SCRIESenior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption Program (New York State)
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Schleider said that housing in the city is "generally affordable," adding, "Tenant subsidies are available through SCRIE and DRIE.
But it's exactly that expected knowledge of the owner about who is living in their apartment which had Judy Johnson, who heads up the Department for the Aging's (DFTA) SCRIE Unit, defending their practice of now trying to obtain refunds of the city pay-outs from the building owners, and not those who fraudulently filled out the forms.
She believes that owners should be proactive in notifying the unit if they believe the occupants are not eligible for SCRIE assistance, or if they know the eligible senior citizen has died, and SCRIE would then begin an appeal process to review the applications.
Meetings will be held every Tuesday and Thursday this month only, and only by appointment, at the SCRIE Unit at Two Lafayette on the sixth floor, where city computers will be available to obtain instant information.
The new property tax bills only detail SCRIE adjustments and are credited on a separate SCRIE line for those tenants that have been approved for the period from July 1, 1997 through June 30, 1998.
In the past, SCRIE had made owners aware when tenants did not send back the forms, but this year "a policy decision was made" not to send owners a letter, Johnson said.
A spokesperson for the Department of Finance said owners will not be charged interest on the bills to be sent in November for adjustments to SCRIE, for instance, should they owe the city money.
At least for the owners, the city is crediting SCRIE and then will work the administrative issues out later," said Margulies.
So if an entry is made on the first [of January] for 99 percent of the taxes and there is a SCRIE certificate outstanding, that night the computer automatically kicks out a delinquency," he said.
Finance is requesting those with SCRIE or J-51 who paid taxes on time to wait, as they are fixing the system.
Rappaport has long complained that while low-income homeowners and condo owners could receive abatements on a percentage of their real estate taxes and even renters could be exempted from a portion of their rents, senior citizen cooperative shareholders did not qualify for any help unless they resided in Mitchell-Lamas, where they could obtain SCRIE.
We are urging the city to approve SCRIEs on an estimated basis based on last year's numbers so as to protect the cashflow of these buildings," said Margulies.