Saturday, February 13, 2010

New York AG To Sue Landlord For Alleged Predatory Practices Intended To Drive Long-Term, Rent-Regulated Tenants From Their Homes

From the Office of the New York Attorney General:

  • Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo [] announced his intent to sue Vantage Properties (“Vantage”), a major New York City landlord, to stop it from harassing tenants in rent-regulated apartments and to obtain monetary damages for tenants who have been victimized. The Attorney General has sent Vantage a five day notice letter, as required by statute, notifying the company of his intent to commence litigation against them.

  • Since March 2006, Vantage has purchased more than 125 buildings containing over 9,500 apartments – almost all of which are rent-regulated – throughout Queens, Harlem, and Upper Manhattan. The Attorney General’s legal action alleges that Vantage is taking action to force long-term, rent-regulated tenants to move out of their homes, and imposing significant rent increases on new tenants in order to increase profits. Vantage aggressively pressures long-term tenants by serving baseless legal notices and commencing frivolous Housing Court eviction proceedings.(1)(2)

For the New York AG press release, see Attorney General Cuomo Commences Legal Action Against Major New York City Landlord 'Vantage Properties' To Stop Tenant Harrassment (Cuomo Seeks Damages for Victims and Protection for Tenants in Over 9,500 Apartments).

Go here for the Five Day Letter notifying Vantage of the AG's intent to sue.

(1) According to the state AG press release, after purchasing a building, Vantage tries to evict some tenants by falsely claiming that they do not primarily live in their apartments or that they have failed to pay rent. Vantage’s actions are often based on information that is incorrect or information that Vantage should know is false. In some cases, Vantage refuses to cash rent payments from tenants, and then begins Housing Court eviction proceedings based on nonpayment of rent. Vantage’s actual business plans refer to their strategy of removing tenants from rent-regulated apartments as the company’s “Golub program.”

(2) Benjamin Dulchin, Executive Director of the Association of Neighborhood Housing Development, said, “Tenants and affordable housing across New York City are threatened as private-equity backed developers are purchasing a significant percentage of affordable, rent-regulated apartments. The Wall Street type level of competition and profit seeking of private equity financing is causing an epidemic of tenant harassment. ..."

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