Saturday, April 6, 2013

NYCHA Inspectors Asleep At Wheel, Say 20+ Tenants In Building In Foreclosure; Renters Living In Improperly Carved Up Units Now Face Possible Boot For Having Section 8 Vouchers For Wrong Size Apartments

In The Bronx, New York, the New York Daily News reports:

  • At a troubled Highbridge apartment building that’s in foreclosure, more than 20 tenants are being asked to move out because their Section 8 vouchers are for the wrong size apartments.

    The tenants at 1380 University Ave. informed tenant association president Barbara Williamson that the city Housing Authority wants them moved.

    Landlord Martin Carlin installed illegal partitions to add a bedroom in some of the 144 apartments, Williamson said, and the NYCHA’s Section 8 inspectors didn’t check the units before issuing vouchers.

    “It’s bad the way Carlin put these tenants in a situation like this,” Williamson said. “Section 8 has been ripped off, just like a lot of tenants. That’s taxpayer’s money that’s being burnt up now.”

    Some tenants told Williamson that the court-appointed building manager, WinnResidential, offered to move them to a building in Mott Haven, but not everyone wants to go there. She said tenants have been told they can’t get their security deposits to move elsewhere.

    Tenant organizer Susanna Blankley of Community Action for Safe Apartments said Carlin should be held responsible. “How is possible no one goes after Carlin for that?” Blankley asked. “All these people going to be evicted because he did all this illegal stuff?”

    Blankley blasted NYCHA for failing to inspect the units before dispersing Section 8 vouchers. NYCHA did not respond to requests for comment.

    A Winn spokesman said 32 units are affected, and Winn will help tenants find new units in any of 6,000 properties they manage in every borough but Queens. He said NYCHA issued no timeline by which tenants must move.

    While Carlin still owns the building, Workforce Housing Advisors bought the mortgage and sought foreclosure in June against Carlin’s company, University Residence, Inc. A court-appointed receiver, Edmond Pryor, manages the building’s money.

    “Funds and accounting from the security deposit account is under active litigation as the existing deed holder has refused to provide the necessary information,” Pryor said. “Any tenant moving from the building will have his or her security deposit released pursuant to lease terms and rent regulations.”

    Carlin’s lawyer, Stephen Jones, said, “I have no reason to believe there are illegal partitions in that building put there by management. I really question the timing of the receiver coming in and starting to talk about putting people out of their homes in the middle of this.”

    Carlin faces jail and $1,000 a day in fines unless he convinces Bronx Supreme Court Justice Mark Friedlander to vacate a contempt order against him. Carlin allegedly continues to collect rents and has about $44,000 in tenants’ security deposits, according to Pryor. Friedlander has ordered Carlin to turn over the money to Pryor.
For the story, see Section 8 tenants may be forced to leave troubled 1380 University Ave. in Highbridge due to illegal apartment conversions (City Housing Authority didn't inspect units before issuing Section 8 vouchers, tenant advocates say).

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