[Photo by Steven]
ICYMI: Tenants at 331 E. Ninth St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue will not have to pay rent until their landlord, Kushner Companies, secures a certificate of occupancy for the building.
Details via The Real Deal:
Residents of the building at 331 East 9th Street will also be allowed to stay in their apartments without paying any back rent, according to the decision that State Supreme Court Judge Frances Ortiz handed down ...
The nine-unit East Village property is one of several that Housing Rights Initiative and Bronx Councilmember Ritchie Torres announced Kushner was operating illegally at a press conference last March.
The property was built around 1900, meaning it was exempted from the city’s certificate of occupancy requirement, according to HRI. However, after buying the building in 2013 for $20.25 million, Kushner Companies added a floor to build luxury penthouses, a substantial alteration that meant the property would now require a certificate of occupancy, HRI said.
Ortiz agreed with this in his ruling, writing that “the addition of an entire floor on the top of the building constitutes a substantial alteration, thereby requiring petitioners to obtain a C of O for the entire building.” He added that “no rent is collectible by the petitioner [Kushner] when a building lacks a valid certificate of occupancy.”
The real estate company never received a permanent certificate of occupancy because of building code violations, according to HRI. The housing watchdog group helped the building’s tenants organize and refuse to pay rent.
Kushner Cos. COO Peter Febo said the the judge's ruling was wrong. They plan on appealing once courts reopen after the coronavirus crisis.
The Kushners started buying up East Village buildings in early 2013.