Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Taking to Twitter to complain about the landlord

Actually, one landlord in particular — Jakobson Properties.

Tired of ongoing issues in a residential building, an East Village tenant is asking other Jakobson renters to take to Twitter with the complaints by using @Jakobson_fix_it

These flyers went up yesterday in several of the 15 properties that Jakobson maintains in the East Village... (and workers have quickly removed them...)


We reached out to the tenant who started the account. Among the ongoing issues in the tenant's building: Lousy or nonexistent maintenance ... piles of trash ... leaky roofs ... lack of hot water ... power outages (too many blown fuses) ...

"Since I know that most tenants are unhappy and that these conditions probably apply to other buildings as well, I figured it'd be good to start tracking these things, hoping for some improvements," the tenant said.

"The real problem is that, at least in my building, Jakobson — or more likely his maintenance crew and managers — just don't care. Most people in the building are students who are in and out for a year. They don't mind some of these issues and are not engaged enough to take action. Jakobson knows this and delays all sorts of work until the absolute latest possible time. Complaining has not led anywhere."

There is also a Tumblr ...

Anyway, the particulars per the Tumbler ...

Tracking grievances of the "no fee rental" Jakobson tenants.

How to participate:
• Mention us on Twitter: @Jakobson_fix_it
• Email us at jakobsonfixit@gmail.com and we'll post it for you (if you have more than 140 characters to share or want to stay anonymous)
• Please identify which building you are in, for example by using hash tags, eg 431 E 9th St = #431E9

Here's a here's a list of East Village buildings owned by Jakobson found through open house listings here.

- 200 1st Ave
- 514 E 5th St
- 516 E 5th St
- 518 E 5th St
- 543 E 5th St
- 32 E 7th St
- 110 E 7th St
- 102 St. Marks
- 128 St Marks
- 431E 9th St
- 64 3rd Ave
- 245 E 11th St
- 620 E 11th St
- 622 E 11th St
- 422 E 14th St

25 comments:

glamma said...

way to go! it is HIGH TIME to get all vigilante on these landlords. when the laws are ignored by those who are meant to enforce them, never underestimate the power of bad press!

nygrump said...

Maybe this would work for the noisy and filthy restaurants on 6th Street for the Souen starts banging around at 7:30 am on Sunday the fucks.

Anonymous said...

Uhhhhhh.......... if you're not happy then move. It's really that simple. Life's too short.
Go buy a place - be your own landlord. 30 years of no rent increases then your payment goes away. Renting is for people who are bad at math (or who are short sighted).

Vince Rosalia said...

Yeah, own a NYC apartment...great idea, because everyone can afford a down payment on something like that. Also paying a crapload for 500 sq ft if you are lucky. And life doesn't change over 30 years, so that apartment will always be the right size...oh and no one ever has to move due to work or some other life events. Thank you for the solution! Just move and let the landlords break the law to line their pockets! Anon 11:10, you are brilliant and far sighted!

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:10, would you also tell the elderly folks who live in the buildings to just go buy an apartment elsewhere? Do you really think you're offering a viable solution?

Vince Rosalia said...

Here is a nicely colored map to make it a little more understandable:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/29/housing-rent-buy-trulia-prices_n_855688.html

abrod said...

Renting is for people who don't have $4,000 - 6,000 they can safely pay each month for the next 30 years.

BBnet3000 said...

Anonymous is the one who is bad at math. It frequently saves you money to rent, particularly in New York.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone is making public complaints about Jakobson.
I lived in one of his properties for 10 years with my wife.417 e. 9th st. to be exact.
Jakobson is a slumlord in the original sense. I could relate many horror stories, and the issues outlined in this complaint are a regular part of life in many of his buildings. He just doesn't care, as well as hoping to turn over apartments as often as possible so as to increase rents. The more pain he can cause long term tenants, the better. I have dealt with this pathetic little man and his son directly, and they are cold, heartless scumbags. They hire ex cons to do building maintenance, and those ex cons have keys to all the apartments and a non existent work ethic.
I could go on and on, but Jakobson deserves as much pain as possible, because they go out of their way to make the lives of many tenants uncomfortable and difficult. The smallest repairs are an uphill battle.
At this point Jakobson has made his millions, but still enjoys nickel and dimeing his tenants. He actually enjoys mistreating people.

blue glass said...

Anonymous 11:10AM YOU MUST BE JOKING "Uhhhhhh.......... if you're not happy then move. It's really that simple. Life's too short."
That's what the police told my friend while she was tied up under a table after being robbed at gun point.
please, don't force the landlord to coddle these tenants by fixing unsafe conditions like a broken front door lock. And please don't go after the criminals in this wild wild west atmosphere that prevails in america now, from heads of state down to the clergy.
or is that up to the clergy?

Anonymous said...

Be sure to check with GOLES or Tenants and Neighbors assoc as well for help in fighting bad landlords.

esquared said...

and cc @NOFEERENTALSNYC, Jakobson Properties' official twitter, so that they, too, get the message

nygrump said...

Where do the Jakobsons maintain home residences? That they have a secret spider hole to crawl into allows them anonymity their tenants don't have.

Stedman said...

A broker from Citi-Habitats told me that Jakobsen is one of the worst landlords in the city. He said that Jakobsen tricks people into renting from him by offering low rents with utilities to be paid by Jakobsen. Once a lease is signed, the renter then gets billed by Jakobsen for utilities at double or triple the rate. So the seemingly cheap rent is not so cheap when the expensive utilities are added.

I don't understand how these types of landlords don't get sent to jail for their practices. Most renters don't have the money and time to challenge them in court. The city needs to establish an agency that deals with slumlords. Calling 311 to report issues does nothing.

I do have a good tip for anyone in a bad rental situation. A great resource is the Metropolitan Council on Housing, which is located at 61 East 4th Street. It has a free, walk-in clinic on Tuesday evenings. I went there when I had questions about rent stabilization. I found the information I was given there by a lawyer who specializes in housing to be invaluable. I highly recommend the clinic.

Anonymous said...

If the real estate lobby (rebny) hadn't be allowed to chip away at our rent laws, then twitter/tumblr sites like this wouldn't be necessary. Rent laws need to be strengthened and extended to ALL NYers. Market rate renters, without the protection of right to renewal, have far less power to fight for clean safe housing. And paying market rate does not ensure these things! Visit tenants and neighbors (tandn.org) to find out about strengthening our rent laws.

rob said...

I've lived in a Jakobson property for decades. To get results, I've had to take an HP action through Housing Court and a rent strike. The rent strike was awesome, but now people are afraid of the court blacklist.

Anyone organizing? I don't have a twitter account so
212-228-6152,
hollander.rob@gmail.com

Holly said...

Commenting on behalf of Jakobson Properties, we want people to know that we are listening. The most expedient and effective way for us to address your problems is for you to notify us directly using any of the following methods:
Phone: (212) 533-1300 x 253
E-mail: maintenance@jakobson.com
To access web form, go to http://bit.ly/vuMcgx
Twitter: @nofeerentalsnyc or post on our FB wall www.facebook.com/nofeerentals

Anonymous said...

Holly, to suggest your maintenance hotline offers "expedient" service is laughable at best. And the people who answer the phone are always rude and often can't be bothered to help. Whenever I used to call to check for updates on when someone could come to work on my apartment, I was always told the problem is "pending" in the computer system and nothing else could be done. Maybe they're overwhelmed with complaints because the buildings are in such terrible shape. Answering the phones at Jakobson must be a terrible job!

rob said...

Well, there's been no hot water all day here and even now, even though *I emailed you this morning about it.*

Lemme see: there was the time the faulty wiring caused a fire in one apartment, and rather than fixing the wiring, he just moved the tenants to a different apartment and promptly *rerented the known fire trap to an 18-year-old student*?! She found sparks flying from the wall outlet on the first night she moved in, resulting in an outage. She had several more outages in the ensuing months, but that paled beside the week of no heat during all of Christmas. That winter we had no heat or hot water nearly every weekend.

Or the time we went to Jakobson Sr. telling him that by law we must have a superintendent. He said that we may be right about the law, but you'd have to sue him and it would cost us a lot and would take years, so, no, he wouldn't give us a legal super.

In other words, "I know I'm violating the law, but you can't stop me, so I don't give a damn. Get lost." If that's not a description of criminal intent, what is?

That's when we started our rent strike.

Or this: evicting a single mother with three kids -- note that their rent was way below market rate; bringing an eviction proceeding against a psychologically challenged but harmless, quiet, sweet and defenseless tenant -- also paying below market rate. Every eviction proceeding has been against an under-market-rate tenant.

Rudi Hanja said...

Nice to see that Holly, "commenting on behalf of Jakobson Properties," is listening...but Holly, my dear, it sounds like the tenants have already gone through the routes you suggested and have gotten minimal attention...there's no mention of Jakobson rectifying the issues at hand, so what has changed may I ask?
As a real estate agent in Manhattan, I have heard the horror stories about your buildings and in an effort to further my referral business and not get blamed for putting a customer in one of your apts, I have made the conscious business decision to NOT EVEN SHOW in your buildings, no matter how low the rents are. I would imagine I'm not the only one who avoids your properties.

Anonymous said...

That "Holly" left a comment on behalf of Jakobson is cute. No "Holly", Jakobson is NOT listening.
They have never listened.
Thankfully, I no longer live in a Jakobson property, but I can attest to the fact that Jakobson has a horrible reputation, and several rental agencies steer clear of Jakobson buildings.
Unfortunately, most tenants have neither the time nor the resources to organize a large scale boycott of Jakobson, but if any landlord deserved it, it's Jakobson.
It is true that Jakobson tries to rent to young students precisely because they won't be in the building long, and are not invested in pushing for improvements. Renting to young students is also a tactic used by Jakobson to make life uncomfortable for long time tenants. In our building on 9th st., students had weekly, sometimes nightly, parties on the roof and back yard, with drunken brawls in the hallways and general mayhem. When confronted, 2 students said Jakobson encouraged them to have parties and make as much noise as possible. Of course, it was hell for the other tenants.
Calls to Jakobson went NOWHERE.
And lets not get started about the surly, belligerent felons who are hired by Jakobson to do building maintenance.
Let's not discuss the heating that conveniently broke almost every Friday for 2 months, and wouldn't get fixed until Monday. In the depth of winter. Try living without heat and hot water for 72 hours every week.
It's not pleasant.
If I had the money and time, I would personally sue Jakobson for pain and suffering. Among other things.

Sharron Gilbert said...

I used to live in a Jakobson Property, and you would never believe how they used to treat me! The place smelled, there was a rat infestation, they never took out the trash and Mr. Jakobson's breath is abhorrent!

For starters, if it weren't bad enough that they hadn't repainted the walls before I moved in, they didn't bother to remove the former tenant before I moved in! He was still there, wearing all his clothes, like nothing about it was even the slightest bit strange! Of course, since JAKOBSON wasn't willing to do anything, I took it upon myself to tell the man they were just relocating him to another unit. Of course when he left I threw all of his stuff in the trash and changed the locks.

I didn't stay there long, as the rats and the smell were too much to deal with. It was really, especially annoying for me, living with rats, as I am an artist and part of my art is making large three dimensional cities out of various cheeses. It takes up quite a bit of space, and while the cheese glues, I need to keep said items on the floor. BUT in the JAKOBSON apartments the cheese was always eaten before I had finished my city! At the time I was well on my way to finishing Vienna, Milan and Acapulco. Unfortunately, while Acapulco was never completed Vienna and Milan both appeared in my show in Union Square.

AND THE SMELL? The smell was really bad. I don't know what caused it, but there weren't enough candles in the world to make it better. Of course, at the time, being an artist and all, I couldn't afford scented candles so I just made due with regular, soy-based ones. But that shouldn't have had a major impact on my efforts, right?

In summation: Jakobson sucks, and his breath is stinky! Peeuuuuu

glamma said...

yeah right jacobson, what a hoax. actions speak louder than Lies. they should be ashamed of themselves for daring to comment here, that is so offensive, salt in the wound. I'll take the TEANAT'S word for it, thank you very much! Tenants - keep posting please!

Erin said...

Jakobson Properties is THE WORST. Shoddy apartments, huge rents, zero maintenance.

When I moved in my apartment was unpainted and had feces on the bathroom floor and garbage in all the cabinets.

I cleaned it up myself and didn't complain.

When I moved out the place was SPOTLESS. New coat of paint, mopped floors, etc. etc.

They tried to take my security deposit anyway. Not just part. All of it.

Luckily I took pictures and documented everything and they relented when I threatened to take them to court.

Anonymous said...

Horrible, horrible people. As already mentioned, the trick they pull is to rent to short term tenants ~ students, foreigners ~ in and out in a couple years, then jack up the rent between leases with little to no maintenance or upkeep.

Long term tenants are treated like dirt, complaints go ignored and they pretty much dare you to do anything about it.

When we were younger we didn't let it get to us until one summer, returning from a mini vacation with our three month old son, we came home to find that the ceiling in our bedroom had collapsed over our bed and baby's crib. From the smell of mildew it was apparent the cause was a flood from an upstairs apartment. The neighbor had turned the faucet on during one of the many water outages then forgot to turn it off, left for the day, and voila, a catastrophic flood.

Not only had the ceiling collapsed but it was clear someone had come into our apartment while we were away ~ there were footprints in the dust and chunks of sheetrock moved around. Yet, when we called Jakobson they claimed to know nothing about it and that they certainly hoped we had renter's insurance since they weren't remotely responsible.

Mind you, our apartment hadn't been renovated in over a 100 years, literally. When I brought up the issue that the avalanche of dust and paint chips now contaminating everything we owned were bound to be filled with lead, a known hazard to infants, they sent a fake inspector to say it was lead free ~ That's when we called the city in.

What ensued was a stressful months long legal battle which we technically ended up winning by settling for a lot less than we were due. They enjoyed every minute of it.

We could have withstood the dust, grime and substandard living a bit longer, but what we couldn't take another second of was putting our hard earned money into the pockets of the scummiest, most soulless excuses for human beings we've ever had the misfortune to call our landlords.