Most city landlords fail to register rental properties

The Real Deal
Compliance seen as key in crises, such as hurricanes
January 15, 2013

The vast majority of landlords fail to meet a city requirement to register themselves as the owner of rental properties. That can result in a dearth of information that is essential in planning for crises, a new report from NYU’s Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy shows.

Using data from the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the report found that only 23 percent of rental properties are registered with the city, and only 61 percent of the city’s renters live in buildings with current registrations. Constant contact with landlords is essential, the report found, especially in emergencies such as Hurricane Sandy.

Down the Rabbit Hole in a Rental War

New York Times
March 8, 2013
by Charanna Alexander

On a Sunday night not long ago, my roommate and I were sitting in our apartment in Harlem when we were interrupted by frantic knocking. We opened the door to find our upstairs neighbor standing there, a pink notice in her hand.

“Have you seen this?” she asked, handing it to me. I read the bold type in disbelief: “You may be evicted without further notice, on the sixth business day after the date of this notice.” It was dated Jan. 23, which meant the clock had been ticking for four days already. I read that line five times before I realized we were days from being tossed out onto the streets of New York, in the middle of winter.

Early Steps to Displace New York's Poor

Details Emerge About Plan for Private Buildings on NYCHA Land
While some agree that the plan has financial merit, others fear the social costs of mixing incomes in NYCHA neighborhoods. The authority's chairman sees it as a win-win.
City Limits
by Batya Ungar-Sargon
Monday, March 4, 2013

Lower East Side­ The New York City Housing Authority is in dire financial straits, facing a yearly deficit of about $40 million in operating costs, as well as a $6.6 billion deficit in capital needs, such as repairs to roofs, elevators, heating and grounds. While residents pay 30 percent of their wages towards rent, the bulk of NYCHA's funding comes from the government, which has radically scaled back its support of public housing: In 2001, capital funding was around $420 million, and 99 percent of NYCHA's operating costs, but in 2011, it was down to only $270 million, and only 89 percent. "That's a 35 percent decrease," NYCHA Chairman John Rhea says emphatically. "Over the last 10 years, they have paid 90 cents on the dollar."

"The government has broken its contract," he continues. "Residents are keeping up their end and paying rent, but the federal government is telegraphing that the cavalry's not coming. All signs point to disinvestment. We are faced with a choice: we can walk away, or we can find creative solutions."

One potential solution has been in the works for over a year now. Since December 2011, NYCHA has signaled it wants to lease some of its "under-used" land to private developers. In Plan NYCHA, the strategic vision the authority published around that time, NYCHA listed 10 priorities. The second was to "explore options for building mixed-income and market-rate housing, and for monetizing land and development rights to fund existing NYCHA capital needs."

Arkansas law jails tenants who don't pay their rent

The Raw Story
by David Ferguson
February 9, 2013

Under a state law in Arkansas, renters can be imprisoned for failing to pay their rent. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, titled “Pay the Rent or Face Arrest: Abusive Impacts of Arkansas’s Criminal Evictions Law,” hundreds of tenants each year are taken to court, fined and jailed under the state’s “failure to vacate” law.

“The failure-to-vacate law was used to bring charges against more than 1,200 Arkansas tenants in 2012 alone,” read the report. “This figure greatly understates the total number of people impacted by the law. The vast majority of tenants scramble to move out when faced with a 10-day notice to vacate rather than face trial ­ and with good reason.”

How stupid is this? Amanda Bynes evicts herself!

Amanda Bynes moves out of New York City apartment after landlord threatens eviction: report
The actress is moving from her city apartment and sources claim she has been asked to leave by management.
by Rachel Maresca
New York Daily News
February 1, 2013

Amanda Bynes is going, going and almost gone from her New York City apartment. The 26-year-old actress has been faced with an eviction threat by her landlord, who claims "she's a disrespectful rule-breaker," according to a TMZ report. "Bynes got a letter from building management earlier this month explaining that her lease would be terminated, because she's a building nuisance," says TMZ's source.

The sources are also claiming that her apartment reeked of marijuana "morning, noon and night" and she was seen smoking in the hallway of her strictly non-smoking building. It appears instead of arguing the eviction she opted to just move out Friday and relocate, where is still unknown, the gossip site states. This is not the first sign of trouble for the childhood star as she was arrested on a DUI suspicion last spring and charged for colliding with a police car after a night of partying on her 26th birthday. She also was accussed of a hit and run last year.

Collyer's "Disease" -- Why it pays to toss stuff out

Canadian man rescued after being pinned under debris in junk-filled home
Fox News
January 15, 2013

Associated Press, Burnaby, British Columbia – A Canadian man in his 70s was severely dehydrated after being pinned for several days under debris in his home that had piled up almost to the ceiling. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Tuesday a man called to report that he had not seen his friend in several days.

Police found the doorway and halls of the suburban Vancouver home so choked with junk that the fire department was called to clear a path inside. Crews had to break down the door and chainsaw through garbage to reach the man. Police say there was no heat and electricity, and the man was severely dehydrated. He is being treated for possible circulation problems.

'Cat Woman' staves off eviction

New York Post
January 10, 2013

Jocelyn Wildenstein, who spent $4 million on plastic surgeries to make herself look like a cat, has been fighting eviction from her Manhattan pad after she fell $73,500 behind in rent. The “Bride of Wildenstein” ­ the 72-year-old New York socialite who famously received $2.5 billion in her 1997 divorce settlement with husband Alec Wildenstein and $100 million each year for 13 years after ­ was nearly kicked out of her apartment on the 57th floor of the Trump World Tower at 845 UN Plaza for failing to pay the $18,000-plus monthly rent since October. The landlord started eviction proceedings in Housing Court, and the parties were due to appear in front of Judge Sabrina Krauson Feb. 1. But we’re told Wildenstein wired the full back rent from Europe last night. The source said: “Wildenstein glamorizes herself as a jet-setter with many homes around the world, but it appears she doesn’t have quite as much money as everyone thinks. Has she spent it all on plastic surgery?”Her lawyer didn’t respond to calls and e-mails last night.

In Pro Bono Twist, Jenner on Defensive Over Handling of Long-Running Rent Fight

The Am Law Daily
by Tom Huddleston Jr.
January 3, 2013

Call it a case of pro bono gone awry.

When Manhattan federal district judge Colleen McMahon issued an order approving a proposed settlement between a class of roughly 26,000 tenants ­represented by a Jenner & Block team led by litigation partner Richard Levy ­and New York–based property manager the Pinnacle Group on June 6, 2012 [PDF], the end of a six-plus-year legal battle appeared at hand.

The proposed settlement did not compel Pinnacle -- ­which the plaintiffs claimed had harassed and imposed illegal rent increases on rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants in some of its nearly 15,000 New York apartments --­ to admit wrongdoing. The company did, however, agree to a lease audit and two-year injunction period during which it would be monitored to ensure adherence to terms of the settlement that called for class members to be compensated for past rent overcharges; unnecessary billings and fees stemming from eviction proceedings; and Pinnacle's alleged harassment and violation of the aggrieved tenants' rights. Pinnacle and its owner, Joel Wiener, also agreed to pay $2.5 million to cover the legal fees and counseling costs of specific legal and tenant-rights groups chosen to oversee the settlement's enforcement.

The 'Lucas' Decision and the 'Four Year Rule'

The 'Lucas' Decision and the 'Four Year Rule'
by David S. Hershey-Webb and William J. Gribben
New York Law Journal
January 11, 2013

When the Court of Appeals ruled in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties,[FN1] that apartments in buildings receiving J-51 tax benefits remain subject to rent stabilization and cannot be deregulated at least as long as the benefits are in effect, it left a number of issues unresolved. One of the biggest issues left open was how to establish a legal regulated rent where a landlord had charged "market" rent, rather than a rent-stabilized rent, while in receipt of J-51 benefits. The decision in 72A Realty v. Lucas,[FN2] of Dec. 4, 2012, begins to provide an answer.[FN3] In Lucas, the Appellate Division, First Department, rejected the "Four Year Rule" under which legal regulated rents (and overcharges) are calculated based upon the rent that was being charged on the "base date" defined as four years prior to a tenant filing a complaint or raising a defense of rent overcharge.[FN4]

Court censures well-known Landlord Lawyer's antics

Nativ Winiarsky, a partner at Kucker & Bruh, was publicly censured because of Housing Court discovery shenanigans and an ex parte communication with a Housing Court attorney, who had been assigned to act as a special referee for resolution of discovery matters in a pending matter.

Matter of Winiarsky
2012 NY Slip Op 09271
Decided on December 27, 2012
Appellate Division, First Department
Per Curiam

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.


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