Friday, December 20, 2019
Tenants call out Madison Realty Capital: Stop warehousing rent-regulated apartments
More than 50 residents, community activists and local elected officials gathered on Tuesday afternoon in the rain outside 325 E. 12th St., a building owned by Madison Realty Capital (MRC) that serves as a de-facto office for MRC’s property management arm, Silverstone Properties.
The group, led by Tenants Taking Control (formerly known as the Toledano Tenants Coalition), called on MRC to sell their 15 buildings to a nonprofit preservation buyer.
They also wanted to bring attention to the practice of property owners letting rent-regulated apartments sit vacant in the aftermath of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019.
According to the tenants, there are 136 vacant apartments across the 15-building portfolio, which has a total of 279 units. (MRC took control of the portfolio from disgraced landlord Raphael Toledano in the spring of 2017.)
"It is unconscionable to keep these apartments empty, when affordable housing is so rare," said TTC member Beth Carey.
"We have persevered for four long years — enduring an onslaught of insincere buyout badgering, construction as harassment, elevated lead dust, vermin infestations, and unfair lawsuits," said Sandra Mayer, a TTC tenant. "We have watched our friends and neighbors be picked off one by one until these once vibrant buildings stood dark and quiet. This community of working-class families and artists should not lose its spirit. It is our goal to bring back a solid base of rent-stabilized housing in the East Village."
Joining the tenants were several community groups and elected officials, including members of the INK Tenants Coalition, Cooper Square Committee, Lead Dust Free NYC coalition, St. Nicks Alliance, Good Old Lower East Side, United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Sen. Brad Hoylman and City Councilmember Carlina Rivera.
Photos courtesy of the Cooper Square Committee.
Previously on EV Grieve:
• Health Department to inspect Raphael Toledano's East Village properties for toxic levels of lead dust
• Ongoing concerns about demolition work and elevated lead levels in Toledano-owned buildings
• Tenant activists praise lead reform, urge for more protections from city against predatory landlords
• Petition asks Madison Realty Capital to waive legal fees for evicted East Village family
• Report: Raphael Toledano files for Chapter 11; $145 million deal for EV portfolio is off the table
• Raphael Toledano tenants take to Midtown streets to speak out against their landlord and his lenders
• Santa delivers sacks of coal to Madison Realty Capital, Rafael Toledano's lenders