Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The lone tenant at 338 E. Sixth St.

Rory Denis has lived in a rent-stabilized apartment at 338 E. Sixth St. since 1979. And Denis is now the last remaining tenant in the building between First Avenue and Second Avenue that is going through a top-to-bottom gut renovation.

As Serena Solomon at DNAinfo reports, his landlord "has gutted all of the surrounding units, cut off water and electricity, and flooded the area with construction workers who make a terrible racket."

"It is a nightmare," said Denis, who can only get to his fourth-floor apartment by stepping around an active work zone. "I really feel like Chicken Little with the sky falling in."

He successfully took landlord Nurjahan Ahmed to housing court earlier this year to restore his electricity and water. Ahmed told DNAinfo that she had no choice but to temporarily turn off the services because the circa 1900-building needed repairs.

1010 WINS had a report on this last night as well.


Anonymous said...

I wandered in and up the stairs in May when he door was open and construction workers were there. I met the tenant, who mentioned he'd been there since '79.

In a just world, the court would have upheld the property owner's right to evict him. Unfortunately we live in the People's Republic of New York (pron. PRO knee).

Bill the libertarian anarchist

DrGecko said...

Oh, it's just Rory Denis's home. How dare anyone interfere with the landlord's right to profit as wildly as possible!

Problem with the above analysis: when the landlord bought the building, the presence of rent-regulated tenants was figured into the purchase price. The landlord got the building cheaper because of them.

He doesn't seem very grateful.

Anonymous said...

Rob from the poor with force to get richer. Not modest capitalism. Corruption in motion if this is a stabalized building. This is the menu of cannabals.

Like maggots to meat. Just get a map of the stabalized buildings and start looking. The land is going no where. Fallow the money. There is a treasure map of preditorial corruption focused on leveraging the middle class from the city. Complicit. In broad daylight. It takes time to put up two floors exta building-top of illegal bricks and mortor into the visible sky. The city misses regulating that but not making a poor man jump to for his soda?! No.

A Nanny State that only controls the movements of the poor, while allowing this horrid crime against civility, against some guy living on his home. Stop and frisk him of his house. Right.

Anonymous said...

@DrGecko no it's not "Rory Denis's home", it's the landlord's "home" and they are allowing Mr. Denis to live there for a fee (or rather, the system is forcing the landlord to allow Mr. Denis to live there for a low fee).

The problem with your analysis is that the purchase price of the building was agreed upon by the seller and the buyer because they were the ones that had the assets/means to make a deal. Implying that Mr. Denis brought some sort of "value" to the deal and that he earned/deserves a "free home" for the rest of his life is absurd. Yes, the existence of Mr. Denis likely lowered purchase price of the building, but he brought no more value to the buyer than things like neighborhood crime rate, or the how old the boiler is in the building.

By your logic, restaurants and small businesses should never be allowed to raise their prices for existing regular customers, only new ones. I've been going to the same pizzeria in the EV now for 8 years, should I demand that I still get a slice for the price I was paying in 2005?

(For the record, I do not have any ties to this situation. Just a regular EV resident that's really tired of the rampant sense of entitlement in the neighborhood)

Anonymous said...

Not wanting to take sides on this issue, I do wonder about the buildings itself. If the building's structure deteriorates to the point that the building is in collapse but a rent controlled apartment tenant refuses to leave, what can be done then?

I was just wondering about this because so many of the buildings in the EV are 100 years old...

Anonymous said...

Hold on Rory. What a bunch of scum!!! Please keep us informed. Document everything. This is one of the most traumatic terrible things that can happen to a person. I support you 100%. If you talk to people, many will say, well just move. They have no right. You tell them to go to hell. If there are safety issues please call DOB and send the complaint number to CB3 at their website. This is your apartment. This is your soul. You are our neighbor.

Anonymous said...

Hating the landlord is a New York tradition, but it needs to be case by case. When the landlord does NOT do major renovations on these 120 year old buildings, the same folks line up to pillory him as when he does. My question, was this tenant offered an appropriate buyout or alternate tenancy option that he refused? Yes I know he has the RIGHT to stay, reminds me of those people that will simply NOT let you pass into their lane, despite your most polite efforts, because they are so extra-attached to their RIGHT of way, even as your exit is obviously approaching. They usually have an Obama bumper sticker, ain't that something?

nygrump said...

anon at 5:10 PM: usually the asshole in that lane has a new jersey or mass plate, time and time again.

DrGecko said...

@anon 12:15 -

Of course it's Rory's home. He lives there. Home is where you live. If the landlord lived there, it would be his home, too, but he doesn't.

You misread my analysis. Maybe I expressed myself badly. Let me put it this way: The presence of rent-stabilized tenants lowers the price for the building because the rents the landlord can charge them are limited by law - although please note carefully that landlords are guaranteed a profit under the law and, if they're not making one, can apply for a hardship rent increase, which applications are almost always granted.

In other words, Mr Ahmed saved money because of Rory's presence. This is a very real value that Rory brought to the building. For all we know, Mr Ahmed might not have been able to afford the building at all except for Rory's presence. But now, Mr Ahmed has no more use for Rory, so time to force him out.

Does Rory "deserve" reasonably priced housing there for the rest of his life? Generally speaking, he's guaranteed that by law - and this guarantee was what enabled Mr Ahmed to buy the building in the first place (because it lowered the price he had to pay).

Furthermore, Mr Ahmed knew full well that Rory was there and that he'd have to resort to either to illegal means or legal chicanery to force him out.

In other words, the sense of entitlement is all on the landlord.

DrGecko said...

Oops - pro "Mr Ahmed," lege recte "Ms Ahmed," with my apologies.

Mark Hand The Catchman said...

This is exactly what happened to Taylor Meade, landlords who engage in this type of behaviour should be charged with some sort of harassment. Cutting off power & water is unacceptable, but when he went to court could the judge not make it a stipulation that the landlord put him in a similar apartment temporarily until his apartment is renovated with his Rent Stabilized status left intact?
I can understand why people like him wouldn't take a buyout even in the six figures: whats 100K or even 150K gonna get you in this nabe, even a rental and at 64 he could have another 20 or even 30 years before he'd have to go somewhere with assistance.
Watch we will see more and more stories like this as older buildings are renovated for the nuvo rich & landlords will try to do worse.

Anonymous said...

Rory I entirely understand why you refuse to leave your home. I respect the choice. Much admiration.

That being said. I am wondering how long they have been working on gutting the building and how long do you think it will take them to finish? Are they moving quickly? It says that there are 10 units in the building. Must be floor throughs. Are they 1 bedrooms? Do you know if they are converting them into two bedrooms or are they going remain as 1 bedrooms? This is key. If they are one bedrooms then you probably wont have so much drama as say apartments that have been turned into 4 bedroom frat holes.

The apartments will probably be turned over alot and new tenants will have no empathy. Fine. The thing is if you can stick it out, once the conversions are done then they are done.

You can go downtown to DOB and look at the architectural plans on file to see what they are up to, if you don't already know.

This is an apartment that sounds like it's worth fighting for. Don't be a stranger. Let us know what's going on.

Anonymous said...

I hope I get in this situation and can wind up with a nice buyout so I can get out of this area with some loot in my pocket. Have been here 26 years, loved it the first 23, was on the fence the next 2 or 3, now actively dislike living here. I would take the loot and head to either northern Arizona or possibly (boring I know) Florida and get a new roll going. I am 55, perhaps I would feel differently if I was 10 years older and would just want to stay put, but doubt it.

Mark Hand The Catchman said...

I wonder what the average buy out is, 150k will buy you a nice house in a less boring part of of the hurricane state... BUT gotta look at the insurance prices, they can be steep. And you gotta have a car, sometimes two down there.

Anonymous said...

Sadly almost half of that 150k goes to Obama for 'redistribution', Cuomo for 'transparency', and Bloomberg to make sure you don't celebrate with a cigarette or a large soda. The 75k left is strictly WestPalmBeach ghetto properties.

Car is a must, insurance is way cheaper tho and the smooth roads and lack of winter make for much lower maintenance costs, as well as availability of very decent used rides at better prices. Lower taxes makes purchase and gas much more doable.

Anonymous said...

Yes and when NYU uses Eminent Domain to bully the bulliers from thier property? Then is transgressing a man's rights still something you would slop to give away?

Let us prepare the deed transfers now so that you may get on to your Rich Reward™. We can help you speculate where to move with the pennies on the dollar they will offer you. Because we are here to help you find good solutions for you. And I am not saying that with any bias. I just happen to be strolling up Clinton and stumbled on my opinions.

Anonymous said...

This woman is gutting her entire building. It doesn't take the experience of a veteran construction worker to assume there would be temporary loss of power and water while new piping and electrical was being installed. The fact that Rory's apartment had violations is a lovely testament to the need to renovate and make temporary utility cuts. I have to imagine a landlord is required to provide other means of housing during that time, just as landlords are required to provide heating when the temperature drops below a certain point. And Rory could be a doll and vacate for the time being, while Mrs Ahmed finished her renovation. The only way he'd loose his apartment is if he signed a termination agreement blindly, in which the blame finger would again go back to our writer friend Rory.

Anonymous said...

Thing is I actually am acquainted with Rory - really nice guy. Talented, crazy, New York to the core. I have another friend like he who is in jeopardy of losing his stabilized home of a gazillion years (another older guy) and the fear they have is palpable. I get it. Old white men without $$$ and credit and solid jobs are SCREWED. But guys - it's not the end of the world. If you don't own you don't own and that's just how it is. Hell - if you have a MORTGAGE - you don't own. I respect that this dive (and he's told me about it) that Rory lives in IS his HOME. Absolutely. But he doesn't own it and at a certain point you gotta move on, Buddy. (But to WHERE ? To WHERE?)