Thursday, November 10, 2011

More from the front lines at 86 E. Fourth St.


We've heard from several current and former tenants of 86 E. Fourth St., the building at Second Avenue that RURU & Associates recently purchased... one resident told us that the new owner and management — ID'd by multiple readers and tipsters as the (Oheb)Shalom family — are declining to offer new leases as current tenant leases expire.

Here's what one now-former tenant shared with us...

Our lease was set to expire on 9/30. Received a notification via certified mail on 9/28 that our lease wasn't being renewed, and we had to move out. Yes, the letter came 2 days before the lease ended. Clearly they couldn't reasonably expect us to be out in 2 days (Have they ever gone apartment hunting in NYC?). And clearly that can't be legal. Well, they gave us a month extension (after the help of a lawyer friend's letterhead being sent to them from us). We understood that we were probably paying below market value for our place, so we offered to pay more, but they did not budge. I don't really think its about individual renovations either, as our apartment had been gut renovated before we moved in, and was still in great shape. Seems like they definitely have plans for that building, and it seems as though they want people out.

Good luck to the remaining tenants in the old building. It was not fun dealing with the new management company. They were clueless and rude. Took multiple days of phone calls and voicemails to finally get in touch with someone.

Meanwhile, someone is slipping notes under doors... here is the text of one...

86 E. 4th Street Tenants Association

Our building is now owned by the notorious Shalom family, known city-wide to seek to empty apartments by harrassing, intimidating, and confusing (and worse!!) tenants. It is important for us to work together, stay informed and stand strong on our own behalf.

1. YOU CAN ONLY BE EVICTED BY ORDER OF A HOUSING COURT JUDGE. The landlord may contact you and tell you that you need to move. Depending on the specifics of your situation, chances are you have the perfect right to stay in your apartment. Do not prepare to move only because the landlord says you must.

2. THE LANDLORD IS NOT ALLOWED TO DEMAND IMMEDIATE ENTRANCE TO YOUR APARTMENT FOR AN "INSPECTION". By law, except in emergency situations such as a leaking pipe, they must make an appointment at least a week in advance. If the landlord or super or other agent knocks and demands entrance, simply politely refuse and ask that the office call you to make an appointment. What they will be looking for when they inspect might include: pet situations, clutter, and unauthorized alterations to the apartment.

3. THE LANDLORD IS NOT ALLOWED TO COLLECT LATE FEES UNLESS THERE IS A CLAUSE IN YOUR LEASE ALLOWING THEM TO DO SO. If late fees or other bogus charges appear on your rent bill, the first thing to do is to read your lease. Chances are there is no clause about late fees, in which case do not pay them! Simply send in your normal rent payment.

4. RE NEW KEY FOR THE FRONT DOOR -- DO NOT GO TO THE LANDLORD'S OFFICE TO PICK IT UP UNTIL WE HAVE FURTHER INFORMATION. Two tenants went to Gatsby Enterprises this week. Both were made to wait. Both were treated very rudely. Both were told there was no new key after all, and the office staff was not clear about when and whether the lock would be changed at all. This is clearly an example of the type of harassment and confusion this landlord will be laying on us.

MORE INFO COMING SOON!!

Have other tips or photos about the situation here? Please send them our way via the EV Grieve email ... grieve98@gmail.com

Previously.

10 comments:

nygrump said...

"THE LANDLORD IS NOT ALLOWED TO COLLECT LATE FEES UNLESS THERE IS A CLAUSE IN YOUR LEASE ALLOWING THEM TO DO SO."

Then they will steal your deposit, but it sounds like these turds will do that anyway...once again I say, where is the spider hole these insects crawl into? Do they have children? Its time to for self defense against these terrorists,. The State won't "protect" us.

Marty Wombacher said...

As far as I know, a landlord can't throw you out, they have to go to court to do it. Stand your ground and don't let these assholes walk all over you and push you out of your homes.

Anonymous said...

You are doing a great service with these posts. My boyfriend is hunting for a new apartment in the area and I'm sending him these posts so he can beware. Thank you!

P.S., my verification word is "moven", ha!!

Jeremy said...

I'm kind of curious as to why the now-former tenant waited until 2 days before their lease was expiring before finding out whether it was going to be renewed. Landlords usually ask for a month's notice, so they have time to rent the apartment, so isn't that something they should have found out earlier? I understand this landlord sucks (and yes, they definitely do), but tenants have a responsibility as well.

Jeremy said...

Just a follow up after I did some actual research. Unless the now-former tenant had an automatic renewal clause in their lease or was in a rent-regulated apartment, the landlord didn't do anything wrong. It was actually quite nice of them to give a month extension.

http://www.housingnyc.com/html/resources/attygenguide.html#2

Again, yes, this landlord sounds terrible, but I can't feel too bad for that tenant.

Anonymous said...

@Jeremy

If the landlord plans on not allowing the tenant a chance to renew, it's their responsibility to let the tenant know long enough in advance so that they can plan to a) actually get out of the apartment by the date they're supposed to be out and b) so that the landlord can show the apartment in advance so they have a tenant ready to move in at the end of the lease. There's a legal defense called "impossibility" for breaching a contract, or here, staying in possession past the date one is legally entitled to. It would be impossible for a tenant to move on two days notice.

Only incompetent or morally bankrupt management would wait until two days before the lease is set to expire to notify the tenant they will not be allowed to renew, and given the volume of absentee and impossible to contact landlords in NYC, it's not unreasonable to assume that that the landlord is allowing you to renew at the current rate.

In fact, if there's no new lease entered into, or the parties don't speak prior to the expiration of the lease, it generally creates a month-to-month tenancy at the current rate (or sometimes in whatever increment the prior lease was measured in). In fact, if the landlord doesn't say anything to you and your lease is about to expire, it could be smart to sit on your hands because then the lease renews at the current rate whereas if you let the landlord know they might offer to renew, but only at a higher rate.

The landlord did do something wrong: he/she didn't give the tenant sufficient advance notice of non-renewal such that the tenant would have enough time to find a new apartment and move out by the date the lease ended. It takes about 6 months to evict someone. If the landlord went to court and told the judge the facts as we have them before us, the judge would admonish the landlord for failing to furnish notice of non-renewal probably at least 30 days in advance, and I'm sure allow the tenant the next month to find a new place.

The reason tenants have so many rights vis-a-vis landlords is a) the long history of landlord scumbaggery in NYC and b) the fact that for the tenant, what they get from the contract is a home, whereas for the landlord it's just an investment they try to squeeze as much profit from as possible regardless of who it effects (i.e. the tenants).

Anonymous said...

I've posted this before, I will post it again.

LL's HAVE to offer STABILIZED tenants a renewal lease - it is part of the law. Everybody who lives in this building needs to check their leases to see if their leases are stabilized.

The only ways that I know of for LL's to legally refuse offer renewal leases are:

1. The LL takes over the apartment for their or their family's own PERSONAL use.

2. The apt is no longer the tenant's primary residence

Somebody commented in an earlier article that LL's can evict tenants if they are selling the building, but am pretty sure this is FALSE.

There is an issue of apartments becoming 'destabilized' if the monthly rent goes over 2000.00 a year or if the tenant/s make a combined amount per year (I think its $200,000?). If this happens the apartment becomes 'free market' and terms are dictated by the lease itself.

Even though some tenants in this building are probably in destabilized apartments, it is probably in their interest to support the rights of those in stabilized apartments - because as long as ANY stabilized tenants are there it limits what the LL can do with the building to make a profit - ESPECIALLY sell it.

KairosKim said...

If this was not mentioned before: i believe the phrase is RENT STRIKE!

Is GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side) still around?

the nomad said...

"1. The LL takes over the apartment for their or their family's own PERSONAL use."

This is only applicable if the building is owned by an individual, not an LLC or other commercial entity.

2. The apt is no longer the tenant's primary residence."

This is only applicable to rent stabilized or rent controlled apartments, not free market apartments.

fierce prey said...

Has anyone heard of VINTAGE GROUP LLC? My stabilized building on the LES where I have lived for 15 years has just been purchased & Vintage Group is managing it - this is all according to a letter i got under my door. I am worried - so any info anyone has would be great (PS they have not responded to my calls, or cashed my rent check - plus I think they my be running an illegal short term sublet thing in the apartment above me which has a had a changing stream of europeans staying in it. )