Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Debunking a landlord's harassment tactics

In an earlier post today, we recapped the Page 1 story from the Times yesterday in which tenants of Raphael Toledano's 444 E. 13th St. secretly recorded conversations with the landlord's alleged agent who was trying to scare them into leaving their rent-stabilized apartments.

As a response to this, Brick Underground spoke with a real-estate lawyer to get a point-by-point takedown of every approach used in the recordings. As writer Virignia K. Smith notes, the situation provides "a learning opportunity for anyone facing illegal scare tactics from their own landlord."

To the article:

"These are classic harassment techniques, they've been around for decades," says Sam Himmelstein, a lawyer who represents residential and commercial tenants and tenant associations. "It's almost like the guy read the DHCR's standard harassment complaint form and said let me 'do all the things they list there'." (Indeed, a good amount of what's said on these recordings flies directly in the face of recently-enacted laws designed to protect regulated tenants from harassment.)

The Brick Underground piece goes on to have Himmelstein debunk claims made in each of the recordings published by the Times, including "The whole building is being de-stabilized, so your rent will increase regardless."

A lesson here: Don't "take anything a landlord (or representative) tells you at face value, even if it all sounds very official and above-board."

Read the full article here.


Anonymous said...

This guy is a scumbag even by landlord/real estate standards.

Top real estate broker says his own nephew screwed him out of $100M deal


Gojira said...

It will be interesting to see if anyone in city or state government reads this and decides to do something about it. I still cannot believe, given his track record, that this piece of human trash is allowed to continue his well-funded depradatons against the tenants in his buildings. Does NO ONE out there care? Why is Bloomblasio in Israel talking about human rights and not in the EV/LES giving that same speech? Where's the City Council on this? Our state representatives? Why do I get the feeling I am sending this message into a black hole of government?

David said...

Not sure why you're using the word 'debunking' in the headline-- the recordings do just the opposite: they prove the tactics are being used.

blue glass said...

Gojira said: I get the feeling I am sending this message into a black hole of government?
you are correct, our representatives appear only when there is something in it for them, or (i hate to say it) when money is involved, their money or that of their friends. now greed is so blatant that you can't even shame them, name them, write about them.
i no longer feel as if we have any effect on them.
sometimes there is a response to a grieve post.