More landlord bad behavior
I’m always amazed when I come across yet another way in which some landlords try to take advantage of their tenants. The list keeps growing, and this latest one has me more in awe of the horrendous lengths some landlords will go to increase their cash flows. As reported in The New York Times, (“Effort to Remove Landlord Who Made Units Unlivable,” by Mireya Navarro, 4/24/14), this scheme involved landlords scheming the system to try to take advantage of local municipal credits for renovating their property.
Problem is, they went about destroying their existing rental units in order to qualify for the upgrade reimbursements. All while they had tenants in place, living in these units. In effect, they sent in “repair crews” to effectuate repairs. But these crews were actually demolition crews, who were dismantling existing, working plumbing systems in the units. Thus, it left tenants with no running water, and no ability to use their kitchen or baths. It is truly too insane to believe.
The reported tale of woe
As reported in the story, you can start to see the unraveling of the scope of this insanity…“In a case that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is holding up as an example of “egregious harassment,” New York state and city officials are moving aggressively against a Brooklyn landlord accused of wrecking the kitchens and bathrooms of occupied apartments to drive out longtime tenants.
Officials with the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development announced on Wednesday that they had gone to the city’s Housing Court seeking to remove the landlord, Joel Israel, from managing a six-unit, rent-stabilized building in Bushwick, and to have the court appoint an independent administrator for the property.
The department had already sued the landlord over numerous violations at the building, at 98 Linden Street, but the most recent action is a more aggressive tactic to access city and federal money for repairs and to bring relief to the tenants almost a year after their basic services were destroyed.”
Landlords behaving badly
So why do some landlords feel they can mistreat tenants? Because they’re natural bullies, of course. Let’s face it – some bad landlords tend to give all landlords a bad reputation by inference. The story goes on to say: “Tenants in at least four of the buildings have complained of actions taken by the landlord to create hazardous conditions and render their units unlivable under the guise of undertaking repairs, state officials said.
In some cases, the officials said, families with young children and elderly members were forced to move to a homeless shelter; in others, the landlord engaged in intimidation tactics, including locking out some tenants.” It seems impossible that a landlord would knowingly wreak such misery on their tenants. But, alas, some still do just that.
Trying to gentrify an area
The article then notes that “housing advocates and city officials who have rallied behind the tenants and pressed for more aggressive action over the last months argue that strong-arm tactics are typical in gentrifying areas of the city where unscrupulous landlords seek to evict longtime tenants to renovate the units and charge higher rents.” Clearly, some landlords just don’t get it. It would be nice if they could themselves be subjected to what they are dishing out. Maybe then they’d clean up their act once and for all.
Not simply a matter of money
The article sums up the situation with a quote from Gov. Andrew Cuomo: ““It’s not only unconscionable but it is flat-out illegal for any landlord to subject families to living without running water or a functioning bathroom or kitchen,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement.” I think most reputable landlords would agree with this basic philosophy. Tenants deserve your proper care. It’s not simply a matter of dollars and cents. All landlords must do the right thing.
photos courtesy of the leonardlawoffice.com, trashitman.com, vimeopro.com, lagliv.blogspot.com