ATTORNEY GENERAL JAMES SECURES MONETARY RELIEF FOR BROOKLYN TENANTS HARRASSED BY GREEDY LANDLORD

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[Housing News]
Attorney General James: “Our resolve to fight for tenants’ rights is unyielding, and we will not permit instances of harassment by landlords to go unchallenged. Landlords and management companies are obligated to meet a certain level of service for residents of their properties. Should they fall short of meeting this standard, we will hold them to account and seek reprieve for renters."
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Attorney General Letitia James today announced that 82 rent stabilized tenants will each receive a $6,500 rent credit, totaling more than half a million dollars, as part of a settlement with a Brooklyn landlord for repeated tenant harassment and deception.

Coastline Real Estate Advisors, which owned the four buildings where the violations occurred, also engaged in construction harassment, frivolous litigation, and improperly increased the legal regulated rents of rent-stabilized apartments.

“Our resolve to fight for tenants’ rights is unyielding, and we will not permit instances of harassment by landlords to go unchallenged,” said Attorney General James. “Landlords and management companies are obligated to meet a certain level of service for residents of their properties. Should they fall short of meeting this standard, we will hold them to account and seek reprieve for renters. That’s exactly what we accomplished in this case, holding the landlord responsible for its failures and providing relief to tenants.”

Under the terms of the settlement, 82 tenants who were in occupancy on or before January 1, 2017 will receive a $6,500 rent credit. Any other current tenant who was in occupancy on or before January 1, 2017 can also seek the credit. The landlord is also required to correct all housing code violations in the buildings within 90 days of the settlement. Additionally, the landlord will lower the legal regulated rents of 33 units in the building and refund overcharges to four tenants.

The Attorney General’s investigation established that Coastline Real Estate Advisors engaged in tenant harassment and deception from the moment they purchased the four properties: 423-427 Grand Avenue; 429-435 Grand Avenue; 27-29 Putnam Avenue; and 88-100 Downing Street. They sent false and erroneous notices to tenants stating that their rent-stabilized status was expiring. In addition, they violated New York City’s anti-harassment law by approaching tenants for buyouts without providing the mandated written notices to tenants describing their rights. Coastline Real Estate Advisors also engaged in construction harassment, frivolous litigation, and improperly increased the legal regulated rents of rent-stabilized apartments.

The Attorney General would like to thank various NYC and state agencies for their assistance in concluding his investigation. The NYC Department of Buildings, specifically Deputy Marshals Shiva Ramsumair and Michael Nitka, under the direction of Buildings Marshal Salvatore Agostino provided valuable assistance. In addition, Jonathan Hurt and Argyro Boyle from the Tenant Protection Unit at the New York State Housing and Community Renewal helped on the case. Finally, the Attorney General also received assistance from Peter Donohue from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Minella under the supervision of Real Estate Finance Bureau (REFB) Bureau Chief Jacqueline Dischell and Chief of the Housing Protection Unit Brent Meltzer. Rachel Hannaford, Senior Enforcement Counsel, REFB and Sean Boyd, Chief Architect, REFB, also assisted in the investigation. The Real Estate Finance Bureau and the Housing Protection Unit are overseen by Chief Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice Meghan Faux.

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