Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force Reaches Settlement with Large Landlord

LVT Number: #32292

The NY State Tenant Protection Task Force (TPTF) entered into a settlement with landlord of 188 buildings comprising approximately 1,000 units, the majority of which were located in Brooklyn. The Task Force is comprised of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the DHCR's Tenant Protection Unit (TPU), DOB, and the NYC Dept. of Law (NYCLD). The settlement resulted in an Assurance of Discontinuance.

The NY State Tenant Protection Task Force (TPTF) entered into a settlement with landlord of 188 buildings comprising approximately 1,000 units, the majority of which were located in Brooklyn. The Task Force is comprised of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the DHCR's Tenant Protection Unit (TPU), DOB, and the NYC Dept. of Law (NYCLD). The settlement resulted in an Assurance of Discontinuance.

Landlord had purchased buildings between 2019 and 2021, and immediately began significant construction projects. As landlord continued to purchase more buildings and take over their management, the  TPTF received multiple complaints from tenants about management and habitability of some buildings, detailing issues such as unsafe conditions, unpermitted construction activities, warehoused apartments, lack of regular maintenance and repairs, failure to comply with rent regulation requirements, and harassment. In December 2020, HPD began litigation against two of the buildings. Site inspections coordinated by HPD with DOB and TPU revealed that landlord was engaging in illegal and unsafe construction projects without the appropriate permits, often leaving tenants without access to essential resources such as water, heat, and gas. Landlord also consistently failed to file required annual building and unit registrations for rent-stabilized tenants. Throughout the buildings, there were more than 1,200 open HPD violations and 700 DOB violations.

In the Assurance of Discontinuance, landlord agreed to stiff fines and strict oversight of its construction projects. Landlord agreed to hire, at its own expense, a Construction Review Monitor that will review and approve its tenant protection plans for all construction activities before submission to DOB for three years. Landlord also must hire a compliance officer to inspect and monitor all construction activities, including random unannounced inspections of construction sites. And landlord agreed to update paperwork and registrations for all buildings and units covered by the NYC rent stabilization laws.

The settlement also identifies 10 buildings that have the most serious and concerning conditions. Landlord must pay all current tenants who moved into those 10 buildings on or before July 1, 2021, a $7,500 rent credit. Landlord must also provide a 15 percent rent abatement per day for any tenant who experiences a disruption in access to water, heat, electricity, or gas going forward. Landlord also agreed to pay $100,000 in penalties for violations associated with the 10 properties.

Matter of Investigation by James of Greenbrook Holding LLC: Assurance of Discontinuance No. 22-064 (NY AG Housing Protection Unit; 10/11/22; Meltzer, Ch. HPU) [195-pg. doc.]

Topics