Electronic key cards are at the center of proposed rent strike and lawsuit at Peter Cooper Village. The NY Times reports that tenants are upset that MetLife, who manages the buildings, will require all residents to use electronic key cards, because "the system would make it easier to identify and remove people who illegally sublet apartments, since only those who can show they have a valid lease or are screened by security would qualify for entry." Oh, snap! While MetLife claims it's for safety purposes, the Peter Cooper tenants feel this is an invasion of privacy, since the motivationg might be to smoke out the many people who illegally sublet their apartments. MetLife has been aggressively looking for people to rent out apartments at Peter Cooper Village - and Stuyvesant Town to the south - with upgrades like new kitchens and bathrooms, plus high speed Internet wiring. The tenants' lawyer will be filing a motion to make sure no tenants are locked out, and tenants will be voting on a rent strike at the end of the month. While illegal sublets are a fact of NYC life, Gothamist wonders if it's a losing cause on the tenants' part. We can only imagine that tenants will want to sublet their apartments to people who look like them - the costume and disguise business will certainly boom.
Do you have a regular key or an electronic key? We've seen some residential building key cards with photos on them. The NY Times article also mentions how the development has a history of rent disputes. Gothamist on a rent dispute in September 2003 and the issue of pets last year.