Thursday, January 18, 2018

Flushing landlord cheated tenants, city

From the Village Voice:

One stormy evening last summer, in a corner of a playground on Union Street in Flushing, a small crowd gathered. They were residents of 140-35 Franklin Avenue one block to the south, and they were there to hear Aaron Carr, a former state legislative aide who now runs the nonprofit Housing Rights Initiative, explain how their landlord had been swindling them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent money.

Their building, a six-story apartment complex typical of this low-rise immigrant neighborhood, had turned up during a trawl by HRI staffers through city tax records, Carr explained. The building’s owner, Hewlett Associates, had filed with the state in July 2007 for a J-51 tax abatement, a rebate available to landlords who upgrade their buildings. By law, anyone getting J-51 money for a building must agree to keep it rent-regulated as long as it receives the tax break; Hewlett, however, had recently filed a property tax form with the New York City Department of Finance that casually listed its J-51 benefits while listing only 14 rent-stabilized units — in a building of 113 apartments.


Anonymous said...

Interesting that the Department of Finance failed to do the math. DOF should be responsible for reviewing EVERYTHING submitted to them for filing. They seem to always be asleep at the switch.

TommyR said...

"a six-story apartment complex typical of this low-rise immigrant neighborhood"

How the hell is SIX stories typical of a low-rise 'hood? It's little instances of definition-twisting like this that steadily lower quality of life for all residents.

According to the City's Building Code (Title 27, subchapter 2), a high-rise building building is 100' or more in height, but low rise structures are those less than 75' in height. So I guess mid-rise is anything between 75 and 99 feet in height? Eh that's City definitions for you.

If something is 3 stories or lower, that's low-rise. They should define it by how much of the street the building's mid-morning and afternoon shadows occlude. The area in the article looks like Whitney as you head off of Broadway towards Roosevelt: mostly 4 story and up complexes, barely any actual homes left.

Glad Carr is going after Hewlett Associates for this low-life behavior, and pushing back against this relentless and unsubstantiated jacking-up of rents.

Anonymous said...

What else can you expect in Flooshing?