Showing posts with label landlords. Show all posts
Showing posts with label landlords. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Residents and community groups to rally 'to end construction as harassment'

Via the EVG inbox...

More than 100 tenants, along with 25 community organizations, legal advocates and elected officials, will rally at City Hall on Thursday, Feb. 23, to urge that the City Council take action to stop “construction as harassment.”

Aggressive landlords frequently use dangerous construction work in residential buildings to harass rent-regulated tenants. The rally, organized by Stand for Tenant Safety Coalition, will call for the Council to pass 12 bills to help end the harassment and strengthen tenant rights.

Many unscrupulous landlords use dangerous or negligent construction to harass tenants out of rent-regulated apartments. When landlords successfully evict, displace, or harass out rent stabilized tenants, their apartments can be leased at a much higher rent to the next tenant, adding to the loss of affordable housing in New York City.

During the rally, tenants and advocates will share their personal, real-life stories and discuss the impact of dangerous construction. Tenants and advocates also will share information about the legislation awaiting Council approval.

Tenants, community groups and local elected officials have accused several landlords with properties in the East Village of employing "construction as harassment" tactics, including Icon Realty ... Raphael Toledano ... Jared Kushner ... Steve Croman ... and Ben Shaoul.

The rally takes place tomorrow from 11 a.m. to noon at City Hall.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Report: Steve Croman filed for alterations in 32% of his East Village properties

According to an analysis of Department of Buildings filings, there’s about one alteration application for every three East Village apartment units that Steve Croman owns, The Real Deal reports.

Croman of Croman Real Estate and 9300 Realty was arrested last month. In a lawsuit via New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, "Croman directs an illegal operation that wields harassment, coercion, and fraud to force rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments and convert their apartments into highly profitable market-rate units." In total, Croman was hit with 20 felony charges and faces 25 years in prison.

The Croman revelation was just one finding from The Real Deal's investigation of DOB permits dating to 2012 to determine which landlords filed the most permit applications relative to the number of units they own in the East Village.

Per TRD:

Other East Village landlords with a high alteration strike rate include Mark Scharfman’s Scharfman Organization, which owns about 4,000 units citywide ... The company filed 19 alteration permits at its 118 East Village units since 2012, a rate of about 16 percent.

Jared Kushner’s Kushner Companies, which has acquired a sizable portfolio in the neighborhood since 2012, also made the top five. It filed 77 alteration permit applications and owns at least 522 units in the neighborhood. Raphael Toledano’s Brookhill Properties, which owns about 400 units in the East Village, was fourth on the list and filed 53 alteration permit requests.

Per previous published reports, Kushner and Toledano have been accused of trying to force out tenants at East Village properties in the past. (Like here ... and here... and here...)

And what might all these filings mean?

Emily Goldstein, an organizer at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, an affordable housing advocacy group, believes any correlation between a high rate of renovations and harassment allegations may be more than coincidence.

“I think it raises a red flag,” she said. “I think absolutely an unusual rate of alt filings is cause for concern.”

However, reps for the landlords "emphatically rejected such characterizations of renovation work."

Find the the full Real Deal report here.

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.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Meet The Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force

"The city and state are rolling out a new task force to take on landlords who are trying to harass tenants into giving up their apartments. The task force will be empowered to sue landlords or even pursue criminal charges against them." (DNAinfo)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A message from Bobby Flay

H/T Crazy Eddie

Friday, January 3, 2014

The 'Sushi Defense' rests: Housing court sides with landlord in 6-year apartment battle

An East Village resident, who has used a so-called "sushi defense" to keep her rent-stablized apartment, has lost her last court battle, the Daily News reports today.

Back in October 2012, State Appellate Division judges ruled 3-to-2 that Masako Mogi could stay in her $992-a-month studio at 409 E. Sixth St., where she has lived since 1980.

Her landlord had been trying to evict her for six years. The landlord's attorney offered records showing that Mogi used a below-average amount of electricity — evidence she spent most of her time in a second home in Vermont.

For her part, though, "Mogi testified that she often eats out, orders takeout or makes sushi, which doesn’t require much juice."

As the Daily News notes, the Court of Appeals ruled that the Appellate Division "used the wrong standard for evaluating the case and bounced the matter back." And now, a Housing Court judge ruled in favor of her landlord, who will, of course, be charging much more than $992 a month.

According to Streeteasy this morning, a 1-bedroom unit in the building is going for $2,800.

[Image via the Daily News]

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Longtime laundromat on East 10th Street closes on Friday

Back in January we heard that the laundromat on East 10th Street near Second Avenue that has served the neighborhood for so many years will be closing ... We heard that the landlord was asking for an "insane" rent hike.

A reader tells us that Friday is their last day in business. Mimi and her son are saying their goodbyes now to longtime customers.

"Such a nice family. It's really sad to see them go," said the reader.

As for this space, you can probably count on either more ramen... or an upscale eatery from a name chef. Right?

Previously on EV Grieve:
Rent hike KOs East 10th Street laundromat

Friday, November 2, 2012

Landlord serves eviction notice during Hurricane Sandy blackout

An EVG reader on Essex Street shares this stunning story. The 5-story tenement the longtime East Village-LES resident has lived in was recently sold. And the new landlord, named as Essex Funding LLC, is not offering new leases to any current tenants. Workers are planning a gut renovation.

OK. But then.

Per the reader:

I was in our apartment Wednesday afternoon when someone knocked. Our hallway is pitch black, so I wouldn't open the door. A guy on the other side had "paperwork" for me to "sign." It was a 30-day notice of termination of tenancy!

They also had a bunch of guys collected outside the previous morning with a dumpster to demolish and gut another apartment in the buiding. There is no light in the halls. It was impossible and completely unsafe ... and they didn't work, thankfully for them.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

In six-year eviction fight, 'sushi defense' keeps East Sixth Street resident in apartment

A so-called "sushi defense" has saved a longtime East Sixth Street resident from eviction. The Daily News reports today that State Appellate Division judges ruled 3-to-2 that Masako Mogi could stay in her $992-a-month studio at 409 E. Sixth St., where she has lived since 1980.

The landlord, not named in the article, had been trying to evict her for six years. The landlord's attorney offered records showing that Mogi used a below-average amount of electricity — evidence she spent most of her time in a second home in Vermont.

But! For her part, "Mogi testified that she often eats out, orders takeout or makes sushi, which doesn’t require much juice."

I looked at Streeteasy, and found that the average price for an apartment here runs $2,715.

The most recent "gut renovated" apartment went for $3,000 this past summer. The listing included one of those stalky YouTube videos of the unit...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Looking for a few good landlords

A newer EVG reader writes:

I'm looking for a studio in the neighborhood, and don't want to make any mistakes with slumlords or anything like that...I've been through that already.

Are you familiar with some of the better, or more reputable, rental agencies/realtors in the East Village? Any words of wisdom on real estate agencies/realtors in the East Village with above-average reputations?

Hmm. Good question. It seems as if people know about some of more, uh, vilified landlords or real-estate companies... Anyone want to share any positive experiences with any particular landlord(s)? Maybe one on a quiet block!

[Corny image via Getty]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

How much of a rent discount for not having gas for cooking?

A resident is looking for a little advice about the current situation in his or her East Seventh Street apartment building. (It's a different building than the one we wrote about here in March 2011.)

Some background.

On April 12, workers shut off the gas because tenants had been smelling a gassy odor in the building. The residents didn't have hot water or gas for cooking for nine days. The hot water returned on April 20 — but there still wasn't any gas for cooking.

According to the resident, the building's landlord, Koppelman Management, was difficult, if not impossible, to reach. When someone did get in touch with a building rep, they apparently blamed the matter on ConEd. On May 7, full gas service was restored to all but five of the apartments. To date, gas for cooking is still not available in the five apartments.

Tenants have called 311, though the resident described the exchanges as "ineffective." Meanwhile, the resident says management offered a 15-percent discount on the May rent for the gas outage from April 12-May 7. But the resident, who's in one of the five units still without gas for cooking, thinks that's a low-ball figure, considering people have spent more than 15 percent of the rent on food in the past five weeks.

So far, the resident hasn't paid the May rent, and won't until the issue is resolved.

"The entire building is pissed off but everyone is at a loss for rules/laws, etc. This building has never properly been taken care of and ... this has been a constant problem. [Residents have] had rent strikes in the past just to get regular maintenance done."

Any constructive input? Do you calculate what you think you spent on food and subtract that from the rent? Other options?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meet the landlord who owns 50-58 E. Third St.

[Bobby Williams]

The Voice filed a story yesterday on the ongoing situation at 50-58 E. Third St., which included a rally on Monday in which City Council member Rosie Mendez spoke.

As you may know, Abart Holdings LLC has sold (or is selling) the buildings at 50, 54 and 58 E. Third St. between First Avenue and Second Avenue. Seventeen residents of the building with market-rate apartments received letters that stated they must move out within 60 days.

Wasim Lone of Good Old Lower East Side told the Voice that he has been trying to contact the landlord on behalf of the tenants, but they've refused to take any calls. "The landlord's request is quite outrageous, considering he's trying to kick out 17 families out of the houses in just two months," Lone said.

And Ben Kim at the Voice did a little digging and discovered who the landlord is behind Abart Holdings LLC: Abe Haruvi. (The Voice wrote in October 2000 about how Haruvi allegedly tried to evict long-term tenants elsewhere in the city.)

In November 2010, the Post reported that Haruvi owns more than 40 Manhattan buildings. And, "Several years ago he allegedly tried to evict rent-stabilized tenants by wrongly claiming he needed their homes for his personal use."

Also, according to the Post in November 2010: "A 65-year-old housekeeper at the Palm Beach home of Manhattan landlord Abe Haruvi says she was made to work from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. and forced to share living quarters with her employers' dogs." She filed a lawsuit for unspecified damages.

Anyway, here's a photo of the house that Haruvi bought last November in Palm Beach for $7.8 million (down from an early high of $17 million). You can read about it here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Reader report: Three apartment buildings sold on East Third Street

Know your rights: Help with understanding NYC rent laws

More about the lease renewals at 50, 54 and 58 E. Third St.

Tenants at 50, 54 and 58 E. Third St. banding to together in face of building sale

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

77 E. Seventh St. East Village's lone entry in 'NYC's Worst Landlords Watchlist'

[77 E. Seventh St. via Google Street Maps]

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio has released the 2011 NYC's Worst Landlords Watchlist ... and it looks as if one East Village building made the list.

At No. 29 in Manhattan: Robert Koziej, head officer, 77 E. Seventh St. with 110 total infractions. With 16 units in the building, that's roughly 6.8 infractions per apartment...

de Blasio's database contains 358 buildings owned by 317 separate landlords in all five boroughs. Topping the list: 1071 Home Corp, which had 1,187 infractions total in eight properties in the Bronx.

Read more at the Daily News ... h/t Curbed ...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Is your landlord harassing you, being a general pain in the ass?

[Photo by Dave on 7th]

GOLES is holding a workshop tonight on how to deal with harassment from landlords, presented by tenant attorney John Gorman.

Details from GOLES:
Town Hall Meeting
Tonight at 7
• Do you have repairs that the landlord refuses to do?
• Is your landlord treating you with no respect and dignity?
• Are you being taken to court without a justifiable reason?
• Are you receiving inaccurate rent statements?


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recession causing retail landlords to be sort of nice and humane

To the Times!

Back in the mid-1990s, when a stretch of Ludlow Street in Manhattan was dominated by boarded-up buildings and wholesale fruit and nut vendors, Terri Gillis’s boutique, TG-170, was one of the magnets that drew intrepid shoppers to the Lower East Side.

That area is now one of the city’s liveliest late-night strips, which made it particularly painful for Ms. Gillis to receive an eviction notice last month because she owed $13,556.26 in back real estate taxes. But in a sudden change of heart, her landlord recently offered to let Ms. Gillis stay for two more years, and even proposed paying part of her future real estate taxes — which retail tenants normally pay.

In this troubled economy, the building manager, Arwen Properties, decided it would rather hold onto a good tenant.

“We’re working with her and trying to compromise,” the lawyer for Arwen Properties, Joel Bernstein, said. “The landlord has got an incentive, naturally, to keep cash flowing.”

Many landlords he advises are coming to the same conclusion, Mr. Bernstein said. Just a year ago, the owners of New York’s most coveted retail and restaurant spaces held almost unassailable power to dictate the terms of their leases. But the recession is changing that equation, as rapidly rising vacancy rates and bankruptcies are making it hard to find new tenants.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Staying put on East Third Street

Residents at 176 E. Third Street have been offered up to $125,000 apiece to move out of their rent-stabilized apartments. They declined. As the Post notes:

The residents charge that the buyout bid by Icon Realty Management, owned by Terrence Lowenberg and Todd Cohen, would destroy the building's sense of community.
"They offered me $120,000," said Carolyn Chamberlain, 65, a secretary who pays $400 for her two-bedroom apartment in the six-story, prewar building.
"I told them I would only be interested if it was middle-six-figure offer. It's outright harassment," she said.
Alexander Camu, a bartender, said he turned down a $125,000 offer.
"I moved here when the neighborhood was crap," he said. "I turned down the offer because I'm being paid to leave my life."

Bob Arihood has been covering this story at Neither More Nor Less. Read his coverage here.