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Attorney General Files Suit After Investigation into Tenant Harassment

In partnership with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Tenant Protection Unit, a subpoena was issued in 2014 to investigate Marolda Properties and different landlord companies concerning allegations of tenant harassment and business practices.

On November 1, a lawsuit was filed by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, against landlords and property management companies alleging that they harassed residents in Chinatown and the Lower East Side. The harassed tenants occupied rent regulated apartments. According to Crain’s New York Business, the landlords and management companies wanted these residents out of the building to bring in higher paying tenants to increase profits.

Marolda Properties, a party listed in the complaint, owns and manages upwards of 70 buildings with approximately 1,700 apartments throughout Westchester County and the five boroughs.

According to the complaint, Marolda Properties and landlords of different limited liability companies intimidated residents “by accusing them of not living in their unit.” They threatened the tenants with an eviction proceeding if they did not leave voluntarily. According to Crain’s, the property manager and landlords filed suit in housing court against tenants without any evidence to their claims in many cases.

According to the Attorney General, Marolda, who is a stakeholder in many of the buildings, turned off the gas to some units at a building in the Lower East Side and failed to make basic repairs in an attempt to make the tenants leave. Marolda has not turned the gas back on according to Schneiderman.

One example cited by Crain’s is that when Marolda “ripped out the toilet used by elderly residents in August and never replaced it.” The elderly tenants “had to climb three flights of stairs to use a different restroom.”

Marolda Properties has not yet commented on the allegations.

If you believe your rights as a tenant have been violated, contact Tanya Hobson-Williams, P.C. to learn about the protections available to you under New York State Law.

New Law Grants Tenants Greater Protection from Gentrification

Mayor de Blasio recently passed a law that would grant greater protection to tenants and prevent landlords from forcing them to move out of rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments.

The law is designed to prevent landlords from forcing tenants to move from rent controlled and stabilized apartments so that landlords can then re-rent the apartments and charge higher rents.  Violation of the new law will result in significant fines.  Landlords may face penalties for a first time offense ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for engaging in prohibited tactics in an attempt to get tenants to vacate.  Fines up to $20,000 may be imposed for additional violations.

The new law provides that:

  • Landlords may not make a buyout offer within 180 days of a tenant refusing an offer;
  • Landlords may not threaten tenants;
  • Landlords may not contact tenants at unusual hours;
  • Landlords may not induce tenants to move out by providing false information;
  • Landlords must inform tenants that they may remain in their apartment;
  • Landlords are also required to inform the tenants that they may wish to get advice from an attorney;

No tenant should have to live in fear that they will be thrown out of their home, or be retaliated against for refusing to move out.  If you feel that your rights as a tenant have been violated, contact the skilled New York City landlord-tenant attorneys at the Law Office of Tanya Hobson-Williams. Please contact us online, toll free (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744 to discuss your rights as a tenant and the solutions available to you.

Buyouts as a Method of Tenant Harassment

Tanya Hobson-WilliamsAs New York City rent prices continue to increase, the demand for housing has made rent-controlled apartments an even more precious commodity. Indeed, many landlords seeking to earn a sizeable profit in the current sellers’/renter’s market have engaged in “buying out” their tenants’ lease agreements.

In some situations, a buyout can effect a sizeable and worthwhile payout to both the landlord and the tenant. However, there has become an increasing trend of meager buyout offers to lower-income tenants. These paltry offers, if successful, have the potential to displace lower income individuals in the face of New York’s ever increasing rental prices. Furthermore, recent reports have suggested that these buyout offers have been used more as instruments of illegal tenant harassment than simple mutually-beneficial business propositions. Continue reading “Buyouts as a Method of Tenant Harassment”

Discrimination Against Tenants in Brooklyn

Tanya Hobson-WilliamsTenants in Brooklyn, New York are claiming their landlord is discriminating against them and trying to force them out of their rent-controlled apartment. African American tenants of Homewood Gardens Estates in the Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood have filed a federal lawsuit against the complex and owner Yeshaya Wasserman. They allege the landlord failed to make repairs and seldom cashed rent checks in a scheme to evict them from their rent-controlled apartments. Residents claim white and Asian tenants don’t face the same treatment

“He fails routinely to cash rent checks and then turns around and sues plaintiffs for allegedly not paying their rent,” attorney for the residents, Pavita Krishnaswamy said. One woman who’s lived at the apartment complex for over 14 years said she’s gone without hot water for over a week and the landlord barely ever responded to her countless repair requests over the years. Continue reading “Discrimination Against Tenants in Brooklyn”

Landlord Accused of Denying Tenants’ Plans to Build a Gay Bar

Tanya Hobson-WilliamsThe owner of an establishment named Lulu’s in Brooklyn New York is worried about going out-of-business after his Long Island based landlord denied his attempts to convert his business into a gay bar earlier this April.

Tenant John McGillion, had hoped to revitalize his pub and take advantage of the growing gay and lesbian population in the Greenpoint area. However, a clause in his lease agreement stated “The leased Premises shall be used by Tenant as a restaurant and bar. It shall not be used for adult entertainment and shall not be operated as a gay or lesbian bar and/or restaurant.”

As a result of the clause, McGillion maintains that he is unable to make ends meet and argued in his filing documents that he is “barely scraping by on the proceeds of the bar,” all as a direct consequence of the unfair lease clause. He added: “If I am permitted to operate a gay bar at the premises I believe that I will be able to make a considerable profit.” Continue reading “Landlord Accused of Denying Tenants’ Plans to Build a Gay Bar”

Tanya Hobson-Williams Urges New York City Council to Impose Rent Freeze for More Senior Citizen Tenants

Tanya Hobson Williams, Attorney at LawFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
John Zaher (631) 207-1057 ext. 8
Hank Russell (631) 207-1057 ext. 4
PRMG New York

Thursday, April 24, 2014

FLORAL PARK, NY — Attorney Tanya Hobson-Williams of Hobson-Williams, P.C. is asking the New York City Council to pass a bill that would raise the income threshold for senior citizen tenants living in rent-regulated apartments. She says that, under this bill, more seniors would be protected from rent hikes and be able to stay where they are currently living.

On April 10, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin introduced a bill that would update the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) Program. Currently, seniors over the age of 62 with an annual income of less than $29,000 who use one-third of their income to pay rent are eligible for a rent freeze. Under Councilwoman Chin’s legislation, the income cap would almost double to $50,000 a year. Continue reading “Tanya Hobson-Williams Urges New York City Council to Impose Rent Freeze for More Senior Citizen Tenants”

Bronx Residents Claim Landlord Is Ignoring Tenant Safety

Tanya Hobson-WilliamsBronx residents and local officials are urging a Jerome Park landlord to update security after a string of burglaries at the Bronx apartment building. Tenants of the building claim they have been robbed blind over the past two years, and some are even convinced that it may be an inside job.

Despite reporting the thefts to the 52nd Precinct and landlord (American Rental Masters), tenants at the 49-unit building say nothing has been done.  They claim that the thefts have been a tenant safety issue for over 2 years!

Continue reading “Bronx Residents Claim Landlord Is Ignoring Tenant Safety”

New York City Tenant Sues Landlord for Negligence

Tanya Hobson-WilliamsAlmost everyone has heard of a story about someone walking into their apartment and realizing they’ve been robbed. But have you ever heard of a story where they stole the bed, the curtains and everything in between? Well that’s what Upper East Side resident, Nilay Shroff, is claiming he experienced in October 2013, when he found his apartment stripped of almost everything in an apparent “mistaken robbery.”

Mr. Shroff, a 27-year-old software maker alleged that late one night in October 2013, he entered his Yorkville apartment to find the shock of a life time; almost everything was gone. Once police arrived, Shroff and the officers became suspicious of the incident since the apartment burglary did not fit the details of a usual occurrence in multiple ways. Continue reading “New York City Tenant Sues Landlord for Negligence”

New Changes to Rent Stabilization Law in New York

Tanya Hobson-WilliamsJanuary of this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law numerous amendments to the system of rent stabilization in New York State. Both landlord and tenants agree that the new amendments strongly help tenants’ rights, while limiting those of landlords.

Currently, laws impose a four-year limitation on checking rent history, but now regulators will be able to look back more than four years to determine whether there was ‘a fraudulent scheme’ to destabilize the apartment. Tenants can also go directly to the state to request rent reductions because of service complaints, whereas before they were required to first inform the landlord.

Additionally, the state will begin to enforce and keep tabs on whether or not a building has any housing violations, and they will reject a landlord’s request to increase rent if any violations exist. Previously, they state would only look up violations if someone filed a complaint. Landlords will also be required to make “extensive new disclosures” when they increase rents, so there will be more oversight from the state. Continue reading “New Changes to Rent Stabilization Law in New York”