Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Stuy Town Tenants Sue over Rents

Stuy Town tenants sue over rents
The Associated Press

January 23, 2007, 10:06 AM EST

A group of tenants at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village want to see their rents rolled back, saying the complex's owners illegally charged market-rate rents while benefitting from tax breaks that should have precluded them from doing so.The suit, filed Monday in Manhattan state Supreme Court, names both the previous owner of the complex, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and Tishman Speyer Properties, which bought it for a record $5.4 billion last year. Most of the more than 11,000 units in the property are under rent regulation, while about 3,000 are not. The class-action lawsuit asks that those 3,000 apartments be put back under rent regulation for another 10 years, until a series of city-given tax breaks expire. Those tax breaks are given in exchange for unit owners agreeing to keep rents reasonably low. Those filing the lawsuit say that means the owners shouldn't be charging market-level rent.The suit also asks for $320 million in damages, The New York Times reported in Tuesday's editions.A spokesman for Met Life declined to comment to the paper, while a spokesman for Tishman said the suit was without merit.

List of 12 of NYC's Landlords

  • List of NYC's 12 'worst landlords'
    By Justin Rocket Silverman
    amNewYork Staff Writer

    January 24, 2007

    The 'Dirty Dozen' list provided by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development:
  • Mt. Eden, the Bronx: Jacob Finkelstein for not fixing leaks at 105 E. Clark Place
  • Washington Heights: Joel Weiner of The Pinnacle Group LLC, which is said to have begun legal proceedings against 5,000 tenants
  • Central Brooklyn: John Tsevelos of G-Way Management
  • West Side Manhattan: Jay Podolsky for harassing tenants at SRO hotels-
  • Lower East Side: Nathan Shuchat at 141 Ridge Street
  • Williamsburg: Adam Mermelstein and TreeTop Development LLC
  • Queens:George Subraj for his many buildings in the Jamacia area.
  • Bushwick: David Melendez is said to have more than 673 open building code violations-
  • Harlem: Joel Weiner of The Pinnacle Group LLC
  • South Bronx: Doug Peterson of NYC Capital Value Fund II LLC for pressuring Section 8 tenants to move out
  • Chinatown: Benjamin Shaoul for bringing frivolous lawsuits
  • South Brooklyn: Julia and Carlos Guzman for harassing tenants at 268 Dean Street

Advocates Name the Worst Landlords in NYC

Advocates name city's 'worst landlords'
By Justin Rocket Silverman
amNewYork Staff Writer

January 24, 2007

Housing advocates Tuesday released a "dirty dozen" list of landlords, who they claim are harassing tenants to force them out of rent-stabilized apartments.In years past, the most notorious landlords were criticized for letting their buildings fall apart. But in this rapidly gentrifying modern city, owners are coming under fire for trying to clear their buildings of tenants to make way for luxury apartments. "We are hard-working families, paying our rent on time, and don't deserve to be harassed," said Jacqueline Hernandez, a resident of 188 South 3rd St. in Williamsburg. "The apartments we live in are full of mold and drafty windows. Meanwhile, we see nice new windows being installed in empty apartments."The owners of 188 South 3rd -- Adam Mermelstein and TreeTop Development LLC -- were voted "New York's Most Abusive Landlord" by the hundreds of people attending Tuesday's gathering of housing advocacy groups.Eleven other landlords from neighborhoods from the Bronx to Manhattan's Lower East Side were cited for what the participants said were strong-arm harassment tactics used in trying to clear tenants out.More than half the tenants of 188 South 3rd have already moved out, and their one-bedroom apartments are being renovated and combined into two- and three-bedroom units, the residents said.Reached by phone, Mermelstein said he was not making any effort to get the rent-stabilized tenants out. He said he had only bought the building four months ago, and that constant repairs were being made to all the apartments.TreeTop Development's website was advertising 188 South 3rd as a "gut-renovation upscale rental."Market-rate rent in the area could reach upwards of $2,000 a month for renovated units. Many of the current tenants are paying less than $700."Harassment of tenants has become one of the dominant business models in New York City," said Benjamin Dulchin, of the Association of Neighborhood and Housing Development, which sponsored Tuesday's event. "Landlords buy buildings where tenants are paying low rent, and then expect to be able to push out those tenants."Dulchin said the solution was a City Council bill that would criminalize the harassment of rent-stabilized tenants.One common harassment tactic, Dulchin said, is to bring a large number of frivolous lawsuits against tenants, who often can't afford a lawyer or speak English well enough to understand the accusations.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Convention to Select New York's Most Abusive Landlord

Are You Being HARASSED By Your Landlord?
Come to a
Convention to Select
New York’s
Most Abusive
Tenants from neighborhoods across New York will nominate landlords who are using illegal methods to push tenants out, then vote to chose New York’s Most Abusive Landlord.
This event will bring attention to the crisis of harassment, and support new legislation in the City Council that will give tenants a new tool to fight back.
DATE: Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007
TIME: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
PLACE: Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South
(between Thompson and Sullivan Street, three blocks from West 4t Street stop of A,B,C,D,E,F,V subway)

For More Information, contact: Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, 212-747-1117,