Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meet the landlord who owns 50-58 E. Third St.

[Bobby Williams]

The Voice filed a story yesterday on the ongoing situation at 50-58 E. Third St., which included a rally on Monday in which City Council member Rosie Mendez spoke.

As you may know, Abart Holdings LLC has sold (or is selling) the buildings at 50, 54 and 58 E. Third St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. Seventeen residents of the building with market-rate apartments received letters that stated they must move out within 60 days.

Wasim Lone of Good Old Lower East Side told the Voice that he has been trying to contact the landlord on behalf of the tenants, but they've refused to take any calls. "The landlord's request is quite outrageous, considering he's trying to kick out 17 families out of the houses in just two months," Lone said.

And Ben Kim at the Voice did a little digging and discovered who the landlord is behind Abart Holdings LLC: Abe Haruvi. (The Voice wrote in October 2000 about how Haruvi allegedly tried to evict long-term tenants elsewhere in the city.)

In November 2010, the Post reported that Haruvi owns more than 40 Manhattan buildings. And, "Several years ago he allegedly tried to evict rent-stabilized tenants by wrongly claiming he needed their homes for his personal use."

Also, according to the Post in November 2010: "A 65-year-old housekeeper at the Palm Beach home of Manhattan landlord Abe Haruvi says she was made to work from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. and forced to share living quarters with her employers' dogs." She filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages.

Anyway, here's a photo of the house that Haruvi bought last November in Palm Beach for $7.8 million (down from an early high of $17 million). You can read about it here.


Previously on EV Grieve:
Reader report: Three apartment buildings sold on East Third Street

Know your rights: Help with understanding NYC rent laws

More about the lease renewals at 50, 54 and 58 E. Third St.

Tenants at 50, 54 and 58 E. Third St. banding to together in face of building sale

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

You want to live in the building? Then buy it. Don't whine. The landlord is doing nothing wrong.

Marty Wombacher said...

@Anonymous 9:46 AM: Kicking 17 families out of their houses where they have leases in this economy isn't wrong? You need to check your head and your heart.

blue glass said...

anonymous
what a stupid comment.
i sure hope you own your own apartment because you undoubtedly make a nasty neighbor.
the next time you are hungry go buy a supermarket!

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why neither Rosie nor GOLES have done anything to support stabilized tenants who have been harassed out of their apartments and continue to be every day, yet here they are at a rally for market rate tenants?

There are over sixty buildings in the area that Ben Shaoul is in collaboration with right now. The harassment is brutal and literally life threatening yet the councilwoman as well as GOLES and other groups have been passive since the whole thing started back in 2007 with sale of 17 buildings to Westbrook. We are now up to sixty plus buildings and not one rally or press conference has been staged in years.

Nobody did anything to raise a ruckus over the purchase of Cabrini or the building at 315 E. 10th Street. People have been asleep at the switch and continue to ignore.

Anonymous said...

Marty - Well said, sir. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

Under the laws of these here United States, fee simple ownership surpasses leasehold interest. These are folks paying market rents, not rent-stabilized rents. They can find another place to live much easier than this landlord can find another buyer willing to take on these headaches.

Anonymous said...

So that's all you get is 60 days to move when your landlord wants to kick you out? Is that how it works? I always wondered about how much time I would have if my landlord sold my building, and I had to leave. I have a rent-stabilized apartment, and I would need more than 60 days to find a new place, which would likely not be in NYC anymore. If I lose my apartment, I have to leave.

glamma said...

this is first rate reporting. thanks grieve.
however, i STRONGLY suggest that you disallow commenters such as the first and last anon from so vilely detracting from your righteous causes. don't waste your best commentors energy on fighting off these brainless jackalls.
it's your blog....
not a democratic nation nor a wide-open public forum. Comment publication is entirely subject to the owner's discretion.

Anonymous said...

somewhere else inexpensive yet interesting and vibrant... that's a good question. maybe austin, texas.

Anonymous said...

i'd imagine that evgrieve is probably so burnt out from running this blog... we should be thankful that he's even still posting.

esquared said...

First anon. must be Abe Haruvi or his intern, or Ben Shaoul or his intern.

That's pretty much the attitude, behaviour, and mentality in the EV nowadays. the self-entitlement: I have the money and I just purchased this, therefore I can do whatever what I want...

Anonymous said...

The law is settled here. The owner has property rights, rent stabilized tenants have rights, market rate renters have leases that give them rights.

A market rate renter can't be kicked out until the end of his lease - so a 60 day notice won't be enforceable if the lease still has 120 days left.

Stabilized tenants get to stay as long as they pay their rent.

And the property owner has the right to not renew the leases of market rate tenants.

The law is clear here. Why all of the press? 17 people will lose their apartments and 17 more will get to move into nicer renovated apartments once renovations are done. It's simple really. If these 17 market rate renters wanted to stay their forever they should have bought the building.

Anonymous said...

Glamma - so your point is that people who respect the law and property rights should be banned from posting here? You fail to understand how bad things would be for everyone if we were to eliminate property rights.

EV95 said...

Glamma, I also disagree with the comments you point to, but why tell the blog author what he should or should not allow? Like you point out, it's his blog, and he decides what to post or not to post. His decision to not censor comments does not force his "best commentors [to waste their] energy." As some say, don't feed the trolls. This blog is a wonderful community resource and I personally applaud Grieve for allowing all sorts of points of view, even misguided ones.

EV Grieve said...

@anon 11:29

Ha! TRUE! Which is why I'll be doing the site from my place in Palm Beach for the next few weeks!

Anonymous said...

another good article from 12 years ago on Abe Haruvi

http://www.villagevoice.com/content/printVersion/161803/

glamma said...

listen buddy i worked in real estate for years, don't pretend to preach to me what's really going on here.
property rights my a$$! how about some HUMAN rights? this guys slave-waged his maid and made her sleep with his DOGS.
you really think that landlords like this make it a policy to respect the law???
that is absolutely hysterical. really, really good.

Anonymous said...

@anon 10:23

Really, why all of a sudden now? I mean I think that they should rally for everything but where have they been? This case seems mild in comparison to the thousands of destabalized apartments that were lost, in part because there was no leadership, support, rallies or protests.

Anonymous said...

Anon -12:13
As a market rate renter I applaud the pols staying away from the slow deregulation of stabilized housing. Slowing deregulating is a humane way to rid our City of this terrible system.
My millionaire neighbor pays $1,000/month while I pay $3,000/month (for the same apartment). It looks like her rent this year is only going up $20/month while mine went up $300/month. The system is unfair to me and others like me who have moved into Manhattan proper over the last 10 years. A slow, orderly elimination of regulated units is the best scenario for the City. Everyone should be treated as equals and rent stabilization plays favorites.

Kimberley said...

My dogs sleep in my bed every night.

Anonymous said...

"Everyone should be treated as equals and rent stabilization plays favorites. May 9, 2012 3:30 PM"

So by that standard you'll be willing to do the jobs that are held by rent stabilized tenants that are needed to support New York City ? Because I honestly don't think most people today strive to maintain the middle class lifestyle that teachers, police and middle level management do day to day. It's not a matter of fairness, BUT, I wouldn't rule out a strengthening of the rent stabilization laws (eliminating unreasonable pass alongs in perpetuity) in exchange for a reasonable income cap, perhaps averaged over 3 or more years. Mitchell-Lama did this, and people who were doing well had to pay increased rents.

BTW, it's not a universal truth that stabilized tenants can't be evicted as long as they pay their rent. Landlords can convert property for personal use, though it is a rarity for it to occur.

Jill said...

Anon 3:30pm - your millionaire neighbor is technically not allowed to live in a rent stabilized apartment, so there is something wrong there. There are income limits to keeping an RS lease. Your landlord hasn't done their homework.

The system is absolutely unfair, what I don't understand is why people wouldn't want rent regulation to protect themselves instead of saying they want to get rid of it so that nobody has protection (if I can't have that cake, nobody should have cake, rather than making cake for everybody).

If our wonderful market happy Republican Mayors ie Giuliani hadn't cowtowed to landlords and hadn't remove rent regulation, these tenants would have the law on their side, which is what the realtors in these comments are arguing - the law is settled, but it doesn't mean the law is good or fair or right.

Anonymous said...

;)

Anonymous said...

speaking as a peaceful nonparticipant in this current ongoing battle, in the past there have been few things that get me more riled up than getting into an argument on a blog's message board typically it's me as anon against another anon. it. just. drives. me. completely. crazy. though i don't think it would make that much difference if the debaters actually identified themselves. if anyone can come up with technology that allows for quality civil discourse via a blog's message board that dude will potentially be as rich as that mark what's his face facebook guy. or at least rich enough to live in a nice mansion in balmy palm beach while the debaters living back in the east village continue to senselessly beat each other up to a digital pulp.

glamma said...

except that we live in a system that produces massive inequalities, with a small percentage at the top enjoying massive advantages over everyone else.
if we all started out even that would be quite another story, no?

Anonymous said...

Jill,
You are incorrect about my millionaire neighbor. Even though she makes $500,000 per year she gets to keep her cheap rent. A rent-stabilized tenant's rent must first be over $2,500/month before the income limit of $200,000 is even applied - it's a two pronged test based on income and a rent north of $2,500. Considering it looks like her rent will go from $1,000 to $1,020 this year it seems she'll be able to keep this apartment forever.

Next you ask why I wouldn't want everyone to have a stabilized apartment rather than no one. Two very basic reasons.
1. Landlords of stabilized apartment buildings have no incentive to make and keep them nice. I want to live in a nice place.
2. I don't think a society should ask private citizens (read, landlords) to foot the bill for everyone's housing. I also don't expect the grocer or farmer to sell their goods for a fixed price. Nor do I expect a nurse to provide his services for a fixed price etc. All should be able to charge whatever they want and then others can decide if they're willing to pay the price.

Anonymous said...

florida. a hot, humid, mosquitos, hurricanes, red state.

Anonymous said...

@6:22, you're wrong. NYC gives incentives to building owners to participate in stabilization in return for real estate tax breaks.

Anonymous said...

@7.25pm - you are wrong -landlords under stabilization get no special tax break because of stabilization. And in fact the recent report by the IBO shows that rental apartment buildings in the City represent 11.2% of the total real estate value but they pay 19.9% of the taxes. So not only is there not a break there is an actually premium paid by landlords.

You might be confusing rent stabilization rules with special 421A or J51 programs. Under these programs landlords make a specific one-off agreement with the City. The landlord agrees to provide certain housing or improvements and in return the City agrees to lower the taxes for a season. But these programs are temporary, where as, stabilization is permanent (not technically permanent but 70 years and counting permanent). These programs are just for specific buildings where the owner seeks the special breaks from the City and they represent a small number of housing units in NYC.

Crazy Eddie said...

Anony 6.22 is leaving out the big Kahuna of RS versus nothing. That is, the right of lease renewal. I am frigging sick of this BS, urban myth that's it's all about millionaires having RS apartments. The vast majority of people under RS are working class people of color. Yes, let's get rid them ASAP. Yes my and wife, being RS tenants, really live the high life. Our idea of a vacation is to go to the Catskills for camping or staying in a cheap motel. Dubai on the Hudson, fuck everyone else.

mangy cat lady said...

Anon @ 6:22 - completely, completely agree with you.

The sense of entitlement among those who blindly support rent control regulations makes my blood boil. What right do people have to expect another private citizen to subsidize their lifestyle? I'd love to live in a giant $5,000 dollar-a-month apartment with a yard, but well, I can't afford it, so I settle for my market-rate studio. It's MY choice to live in a city where studios go for $2K a month, just as it's MY choice to work in an industry that is not particularly lucrative. Why should someone else pay for my choices?

Anonymous said...

Crazy,
You say "I am frigging sick of this BS, urban myth that's it's all about millionaires having RS apartments". It's no urban myth. Millionaires have stabilized apartments. And the laws that Cuomo and Quinn passed last summer were only written to aid millionaires. Period. How is raising the decontrol limit from $2,000 to $2,500 going to help someone in the Bronx? How is raising the high income decontrol limit from a rent greater than $2,000/month and $175K of income to a rent greater than $2,500/month and $200,000 going to help someone in Queens? These rules were written to help people in Manhattan proper - period.

My interest in blogging here is to make the point that the system is ridiculous because it's not means based. It's totally unfair to me and if you were in my position you too would try and bring it down. It's based on the fact of when you moved into your apartment. Why is that reasonable? And why is it reasonable to allow millionaires to keep stabilized apartments? If it is an "urban myth" then why are Cuomo and Quinn only fighting for millionaire stabilized tenants? Why aren't they passing new laws that help stabilized tenants in the Bronx?????? If it's an urban myth then let's remove the two pronged test and make the rule that anyone who makes more than $175,000 (more than 3x the median wage in NYC) in any year has to move out of their stabilized apartment?

Further, you overstate the argument about getting rid of all of the people on stabilization. There are about 2 million people living in stabilized apartments. That's about the populous of New Mexico our 36th most populous state. Where would the displaced all go? Who would ever replace them? Do you really think landlords have the money to renovate that many apartments? Do you really think there is enough labor in the City to renovate 1,000,000 apartments? They would sit vacant for years and owners would go bankrupt. Certainly there would be some displacement but mostly just the bad neighbors and those with the best deals (read those living in Manhattan proper).

Anonymous said...

no, actually, i am wrong! i admit it! i'm all wrong. i've never been more wrong in my entire life.

Anonymous said...

dang. my dogs sleep with me in my bed too. is this an epidemic?

Anonymous said...

The smell of sour grapes here is overpowering. I can only hope that the assholes who resent people who are fortunate enough to have affordable rent will come to their senses once they realize that they squander 75% of their net income on their own rent. I love reading about landlords who offer 25% lease increases to idiots who are already paying almost 3K for a 1br apt. Get your asses kicked a few times like that and tell me NY doesn't need rent regulation.

Jill said...

Ah you may be right about the income limit. I wouldn't know since I don't actually know anybody coming close to it who rents. Believe me, if any of us had that kind of cash we'd be so out of here and make more room for you to binge drink with your frat bros.

Rent laws were put in place to protect tenants from ruthless landlords because once upon a tije Ny had heart and understood that housing is a basic human need. It isn't just a matter of free for all property rights that somehow the tea party generation has come to equate with being closer to God, but with living in a society that keeps its neighbors housed and protected from the richest and greediest amongst us.

With some exceptions, when all rents were regulated landlords were still very well off, making plenty of money and people had places to live without the risk of their rent being raised disproportionate to the overall economy. We got our apartment because my husband worked for the landlord shoveling garbage, literally. The LL lived beautifully on Park Avenue.He wasn't suffering. They did, however, have trouble finding tenants, even at $400/month, which was their problem, not being able to get paying tenants at all.

You want to live in a nice place and are willing to pay for it, there were, when we had rent laws, plenty of them, or you could buy something - the options weren't vastly different, just the rents
were protected, that is until the bankers took over New York and somehow the power of the immediate buck trumped everything and real estate went crazy and the power of the landowner became even more prominent as they got richer buying and selling their buildings and the free market trickle down theory became the law of the land, rather than basic human decency.

NY has lost many businesses because they couldn't find appropriately salaried help because housing costs were too high. But bankers grew from wall street to midtown pretty rapidly. Office jobs gave way to industries that support wall street - lots more bankers and lawyers and lots fewer ad agencies and, say, butchers.

I remember seriously struggling in 1989 to find an apartment I could afford, even with roommates, on my office worker salary, just a few years out of college. The rents were proportionately the same as they are now. With rent laws. But now you are expected to pay 1/2 your paycheck rather than the rule of thumb 1/3 it used to be. So now I see the kids having to live in WORSE conditions even with their stainless steel appliances, 4 people in a 3 room apartment and having to rent it out on weekends to make the rent.

I don't personally know a single rich person in a rent stabilized apartment in NY and I know plenty of people. Most of us are working hard, raising our families here and keeping our middle income jobs running our part of the NY economy - teachers, office workers, caterers, architects, middle management and the such. How do you think an economy would function with only the highest incomes. What an awful place to be. NY had vitality because of its diversity, but it's turned into a monochromatic shopping mall which, I am seeing, is exactly what the suburban immigrants want when they come here, as opposed to the punk rockers who came here the previous generation, and are now the cranky old people you are criticizing for making this neighborhood something you are willing to pay half your salary to live in, and who you think you are subsidizing. You are not subsidizing anybody but you sure are eating up your landlord's bullshit and lining his or her pockets with gold while paying him or her half of what you make for a cheap renovation in a building originally built for immigrant labor.

Jill said...

And, I would point out, that there are only 3 of us willing to discuss this without the cover of anonymity.

mangy cat lady said...

@ Jill

I'm a frequent lurker on this blog - EV Grieve always has interesting updates and photos, and I like to keep abreast of what's going on in my neighborhood. I don't know who's paying half of their salary to live in a cheap renovation (must have missed that post), but I do know that what characterizes New York above all else is change. Rent stabilization is the antithesis to change, for a whole bunch of reasons. Old must either adapt or make way for new - that's just how life is. New York exemplifies this better than any other city in the world - which is why generations of people have fallen in love with it.

To paraphrase a previous commenter: "That's pretty much the attitude, behaviour, and mentality in the EV nowadays. the self-entitlement: I was here two decades ago and I refuse to change or entertain the idea that people and cultures differerent from what I experience then are also valid, therefore I will dig in my heels and be vicious and unkind to complete strangers, and make all sorts of assumptions about them based on the brand of their handbag..."

Crazy Eddie said...

Anony 8.56 PM-Prove my statement wrong that the vast majority of RS tenants are working class people of color. “If it is an "urban myth" then why are Cuomo and Quinn only fighting for millionaire stabilized tenants?” and “These rules were written to help people in Manhattan proper - period.” Oh really now. WTF? Because you say so, then it must so. Where did you get talking points from? The Rent Stabilization Association? I’ll take Timothy L. Collins’ conclusion over your RE industry troll BS any day of the week.
“Without practical arguments to support ending rent regulations, we are left with a stark ideological dispute: Does the ownership of property give landlords a moral claim to take advantage of a housing shortage by unrestricted rent increases and evictions? The answer lies in centuries old customs, well established constitutional norms and democratic ethics. It is a resounding "No!". Rent and price controls rest on a time honored principle that public authorities may intervene in markets driven by scarcity to ensure fairness in bargaining relations. This anti- profiteering purpose is well documented in the legislative history of New York's rent laws. Whether you are rich or poor you should be allowed to rent an apartment that is worth $1,000 for $1,000. Unless we are prepared to abdicate our democratic birthright to a handful of conservative ideologues who believe that property rights should override all other public values, there is no practical or ethical reason to depart from the goal of fair rents for everyone.”

Crazy Eddie said...

Also-“Pursuant to the Rent Act of 2011, the thresholds for deregulation have been changed to $2,500 in rent and $200,000 in annual income. Prior to this, the thresholds had been $2,000 in rent and $175,000 in annual income.” Those prior limits were in place from 1997. 14 years not adjusted for inflation. Nice. Oh yeah, gotta go, my helicopter is taking me on a night run out to my house in Southampton.

Anonymous said...

I'm laughing at the anti-stabilization folks calling landlords "private citizens." Stop acting as if the typical modern NYC landlord is just some guy trying to make a living from his hard-won investments. My particular building (along with a dozen others) is owned by a private equity firm. And it's "maintained" by a bunch of professional thugs whose physical office location can't even be found. There is no face, no mythical landlord-person exists anymore.

Are there still a few individual landlords out there just trying to maximize their gains? Sure (although no one forced them to invest in properties with rent-stabilized units). But the people who troll these posts calling RS and RC tenants millionaires and parasites are not working for those individuals. We are on to you.

Anonymous said...

maybe it is time for the slacktivist to help and offer support to these people EAT THE RICH FEED THE POOR THROW THE LANDLORD OUT THE DOOR

Jill said...

Have you ever been inside a typical EV tenement and seen the renovations? If you are in a place with a millionaire neighbor you are likely not living in a typical EV tenement which is as I've described.

Why do land owner advocates keep using this specious argument that RS tenants are old shit ins complaining about change? Its ridiculous and stupid

I see no argument here against change but all are against unfair and abusive landlord power over our homes in the name of corporate greed and gigantic profits.

That people would argue against their own self interest is suspicious. If you are happily paying market rate rent is either a landlord, broker or the 1%. There is no other explanation. Otherwise why wouldn't you want protection against gouging and potentially having to move every time your lease ends.

Jill said...

What Crazy Eddie said. The end.

Anonymous said...

You guys claim to be the little guy here - you claim that this is a big rich landlord vs you debate. Why? I could care less how much money your landlord has and how much money he has - as if a rich landlord should have fewer property rights than a poor landlord - and trust me, I'm much more of a little guy that you are - so if you're so concerned about the little guy why don't you care about me???

You fail to see how rent stabilization negatively affects me and my friends. You fail to show any empathy for me that I pay $3,000/month in rent (and my friends and I know that it's a great deal compared to other market rate apartments). Instead you call me a fool to pay that much - showing specifically how little you understand the plight of 20 somethings who are new to the City. You just don't get how rent stabilization screws me. You're so focused on screwing landlords over and keeping your cheap rent that you completely ignore the millions of market rate renters in the City like me.

You are callus and greedy. You fail to see that this debate is about market rate renters and stabilized renters -it is not about landlords. Sure I think landlords should control their business like any other business owner but that's their worry. My worry is that my friends and I and other new comers to the City get screwed by this unfair system (especially irksome is that millionaires are allowed to keep their apartments).

As your stabilized rents continue to go up $30/year and mine goes up $300/year the outrage will only get louder. The $30/month increases are a joke. We know it's a joke and more and more people like me are going to protest the system until it's gone. If the program were more reasonable then the outrage would stay muted, but millionaires - come on!! $30/month increases when my rent is going up $300 - come on!! $127/month rents in the West Village protected - come on!!! The wider the gap between what you pay and what market rate is the louder my friends and I will get.

Lisa said...

Mangy Cat Lady, you rock! Lurk less & post more-- the comment section of this blog would be less the echo-chamber it is.

And Jill- I argue "against" my self-interest in trivial matters ALL THE TIME, recognizing that my greater self-interest is the protection afforded me by natural rights-- rights NOT subject to mob rule.

One must necessarily acknowledge that the same natural rights we claim for ourselves must be granted to everyone-- without exception.

Anonymous said...

oh my god!

esquared said...

To paraphrase my previous comment"...I am now here with money, from trust fund or otherwise, and I refuse to change or entertain the idea that people and cultures different from what I experience, and what was given to me, now are also valid, therefore I will dig in my Manolo Blahnick and Jimmy Choo heels and be vicious and unkind to the natives, and make all sorts of assumptions about them based on the brand of their handbag they're not carrying...".

Jill said...

Untrue! I believe you are getting totally screwed and should be protected by rent laws. Your argument is exactly the same as mine. The people who think you are getting a fair deal are those who think property rights trump tenant rights.

Anonymous said...

50!

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 7:18

Ha! I just got that.

The 100th commenter on this thread gets to share living quarters with Abe's dogs.

Anonymous said...

oh man, evgrieve, you are the very best!

mangy cat lady said...

But, does said commenter pay market rent?

@ Lisa - amen

I would also add that I don't see supporting property rights and being willing to pay market rents as acting against my own best interests, at all. I'm no trust fund baby, far from it actually, but I work my butt off in this city of opportunities and try to make good decisions. Someday, I may well be a property owner, and I sure as heck hope the payoff from my efforts are protected.

@ the "main" anon (can't keep track of all of you) - I sympathize with your plight. I pay market rent, too, and the unfairness of the rent stabilization situation makes my head explode. It just seems contrary to what New York is all about - change.

Anonymous said...

ooh the battle begins anew on friday morning! yes! so exciting.

Anonymous said...

This guy is scuh scum. Move to Florida and get the fuck out!

not so early bird said...

please don't move to austin. and if you do, don't expect your job to pay anything near what you're making in manhattan. it isn't cheap to live here. you can't afford a place in the cool parts of town, and if you could, you couldn't afford the taxes. new york and texas are a world apart. high rent, however, is a problem everywhere, if you are looking to reside in a desireable location. come to sxsw, come for acl, but hop back on the plane and gtfoh. thanks in advance. no offense intended, just the facts.

carlosville said...

New owners revealed:

http://www.commercialobserver.com/2012/07/grj-buys-east-village-buildings-for-23-5-million/

EV Grieve said...

@ carlosville

Thanks for the link!