landlords

Slumlord Sabotage on Nassau

Many of us are all too familiar with the slummy landlord. He lurks in the dark shadows of our fair city, waiting to drain our bank accounts in exchange for cheap utilities and a security deposit that, let’s face it, is probably half-way to Mexico.

And now, he strikes again. On December 15th, an unidentified mystery person broke into 300 Nassau Avenue and smashed the building’s water main, boiler, electric meters and thermostat with an ax.

According to the tenants of the six-unit building, landlords, Aaron and Joseph Israel, were the ax wielders. Yes, dear readers, this was a potential case of SABOTAGEContinue reading

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Victory for Airbnb in NYC

You may remember the administrative ruling back in May that rendered Airbnb illegal in New York City–that ruling has just been reversed, making it A-OK to rent out your room online, provided your roommate is home.

The judge initially ruled that the apartment rental site violated New York’s illegal hotel law (a 2010 ban on New Yorkers renting apartments for less than 29 days). The case involved Nigel Warren, a New York host, and his landlord, who were both fined for renting out his room in a Times Square condo to a Russian tourist via the popular website. 

Airbnb provided a lawyer for Nigel and spent the last several months appealing the case. On September 27th, the New York City Environmental Control Board reversed Nigel’s fines, making the service legal once again.

Continue reading

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It Ain’t Girls: The Greenpoint Hotel

Greenpoint Hotel Resident Harold Francis

With the proposed ten luxury high rises coming to Greenpoint, adding over 5000 new homes to the area, nearby residents of The Greenpoint Hotel currently live in deplorable conditions. With rents on the rise, are low income residents being victimized by landlords looking to cash in on valuable real estate?

It ain’t the Greenpoint depicted in Girls – that’s for sure.

In 2006, the NY Times described the The Greenpoint Hotel on Manhattan Ave, reporting that the “hallways stink of marijuana and urine; the bathrooms – one per floor – are caked in dirt, and hot water is rare. The front desk is barricaded shut with sheets of plywood. Theft and violence are a constant threat.” Since then, not much has changed.

Last week a public walk thru took place after 30 residents of this Single Room Occupancy (SRO) had their first court appearance to file a law suit to address violations, which were described in a Greenline article in December to include, mold, rats, sporadic heat and hot water and electrical issues. Since then, none of the issues have been addressed by the landlord.

Advocating for the residents, Greg Hanlon of St. Nicks Alliance provided us with photos from the walk thru and the following statement:

The situation at 1109 Manhattan is an egregious and unconscionable example of what has become a common trend in North Brooklyn: Unscrupulous landlords’ forcing out longtime tenants by any means possible, so that they can make more money from their buildings. In some cases, it’s harassment and intimidation; in some, neglect. In this case, it’s both.

These tenants pay around $250 to $350 a month. We’re talking about prime real estate in Greenpoint, a stone’s throw away from the proposed Greenpoint Landing Development, which will have ripple effects on property values throughout the neighborhood. Tenants have told us that the landlord, Jay Deutchman, is trying to sell the building. It’s not too hard to see what’s going on here, and what Mr. Deutchman’s motivations are.

Greenpoint Hotel Resident Bill (above) hangs his belongings to keep them out of reach of the rats.

Along with St. Nick’s Alliance, Council Member Stephen Levin was at the walk thru and had this to say:

For years, the Greenpoint Hotel has been a haven for miserable living conditions. Rats, broken toilets, and collapsing ceilings have become a part of everyday life at the Hotel so that the landlord can vacate the building and sell it. 

We cannot allow this to happen in our city. No New Yorker should be taken advantage of like this. No New Yorker should be subjected to live in this type of environment. That’s why I have called HPD repeatedly to complain about the state of the building and commend the legal action taken on behalf of the residents to make sure these conditions do not persist.

It’s fortunate that the residents of The Greenpoint Hotel have spoken up and sought help. We hope we can count on our public leaders to help improve conditions there and be an advocate for other Greenpointers in similar situations.

With housing prices on the rise in Greenpoint, will more low-income residents be mistreated like by landlords who want to raise rent? Have you or your neighbors been the victim of such neglect?

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