Showing posts with label harassment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label harassment. Show all posts

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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Meet the young real-estate moguls in this week's Page Six Magazine

[Image via Harper's Bazaar]

This week's Page Six Magazine features under-30 real-estate moguls in the city. First, there's cover model Ivanka Trump, the "mogul-ette" who helps run her father's real-estate business. 

Though she is, as defunct lad magazine Stuff once put it, “hot enough to liquefy your assets” — whatever that means — she’s smart enough to do it, too. “My passion is real estate,” she says. Discussing a new Trump property in the Dominican Republic, she says, “We sold 63 estate lots for $365 million, on a price per square acre standpoint which rivals homes in Greenwich, Conn. That was done in six hours a year ago with 20 percent hard deposits.” Even though much of this is incomprehensible, what’s clear is that Ivanka means business. “I rarely go out past midnight,” she says. “I get up between 5:45 and 6 a.m. and ride my beach cruiser bike around the loop in Central Park for exercise. It's cantharric."

Oh, and earlier in the piece:

The double lariat necklace around Ivanka’s neck is from her jewelry line, aptly called the Ivanka Trump Collection, which launched in September 2007. According to Ivanka, the line is “designed off my personality and my aesthetic.” The diamond tassel she’s wearing today, for example, is “feminine but with a modern twist on old Hollywood.” It retails for $140,000 at Ivanka’s marquee store on Madison Avenue.

The good stuff comes in the sidebar, though, where we meet the real sweethearts. Like Ben Shaoul!

According to his feature:

At the tender age of 19, Ben dropped out of college in Miami to buy a building in New York and begin his rise to mini-mogul status. Since moving to New York in 1997 and setting up shop in Soho, though, he’s made enemies with East Village hipsters who accuse him of gentrifying their gritty hood. He reportedly even threatened squatters at 120 St. Mark’s Place with a sledgehammer. And he’s not afraid of getting his hands dirty in other ways, either: “I’ve unclogged toilets, laid brick, done dry wall,” says Ben. “I’ve been doing this since I was 19, which is longer than a lot of the older guys.”

Previously on EV Grieve:
Landlord accused of harassing longtime tenants

Friday, August 22, 2008

More on the East Village harassment story

Following up on the post yesterday on the landlord accused of harassing tenants...Curbed has more here.

Meanwhile, Jill from Blah Blog Blah left a comment regarding all this. She has firsthand experience:

I live in one of these buildings. We have had almost half the apartments vacated in the past few months. And once the tenants leave, we never know where they went or what happened to them. We've organized a tenants group but the people who leave are the ones who didn't join the group. Some that we did know left because they decided it just wasn't worth the living conditions. One had a new baby and were so freaked out by the construction, so off to Brooklyn they went.

Who moved in? Not one of the new tenants is over 25. They are renting 400 square foot renovated apartments (3 rooms--2 bedrooms and a common area with a kitchen and very small space for maybe a chair) for $3200 on a third floor walk up in a very filthy building. Probably a little less for the upper floors. Two to an apartment--$1500 to live in the East Village is probably the going rate, crazy. Dozens of bars but nowhere to buy a fresh piece of fish. Who needs food when you can live on alcohol?

The problem is that the landlord operates just on this side of the law. The super was heard recently telling one of the rent stabilized tenants that he doubted if he could adequately fix whatever the problem is "because you know what the landlord wants to do to you folks." They make a repair, but they make it purposely bad. They turn off the hot water for half a day so that by the time the complaint is registered, it has been "fixed." They don't properly register with DOB for permits and then "fix" the paperwork months later, and DOB could give a shit. There are absolutely no penalties or oversight. They take months to renovate an apartment and clean the hallway rarely, so there is dust everywhere, it comes up through the floorboards and infests every crook--I'm still cleaning out shoes that I hadn't worn that are coated in plaster dust from 6 months ago.

But is a dirty hallway enough to go to court? The workers start before legal hours and end after they are allowed to be here, making a lot of noise. Does DOB do anything? No, they are worried about cranes falling, if that.

They evicted my neighbor out and literally threw his stuff down down 6 flights of stairs. Kicked it down. Then he won in court and got to come back.

I could go on about the small things they have done, they all add up, but none individually are enough to make a case that sounds really compelling.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Landlord accused of harassing longtime tenants

From the City Room this afternoon:

A group of tenant advocates has accused a landlord that acquired 17 rent-regulated buildings on the Lower East Side last year of aggressively harassing tenants in a concerted effort to oust longtime residents from the buildings so that the units could be renovated and the rents raised.

All the buildings, which are rent-regulated, are in an area bounded by First Avenue and Avenue B and East 13th and Houston Streets.