The Ten Worst New York City Landlords of 2014
As with everything else in this city, the field of awful landlords is a crowded one. Dirty, crumbling, roach-ridden apartments are a dime a dozen -- to stand out from the pack, a landlord must up his or her game to truly horrifying heights. Hostility comes in the form of actual, physical attacks; neglect looks like years without heat. Think your landlord's creepy? At least he didn't film you in the bathroom.
Among the perverts, bullies, and other shady characters who apparently control much of the city's real estate, these 10 landlords managed to distinguish themselves. Below, a list of the worst of the worst of the year:
10. The Really Bad Liar In August, the tenants of 149 First Avenue were informed by their landlord, 149 Associates LLC, that their rent-stabilized leases would not be renewed due to "deterioration issues." The building would have to be demolished, the letter read, and "as a matter of safety," they would all have to be out within 90 days. Funny thing, though: According to the real estate website Curbed, at the time the note was sent, 149 Associates had only one (very minor) recent violation, and exactly zero permits to demolish or renovate the building. In one of the few terrible-landlord stories with a happy ending, the tenants banded together and enlisted the help of housing advocates to fight back against the eviction. In September, 149 Associates received its orders from the city: "Make safe immediately -- repair and maintain."
9. The Impostor Terrance Hill, as it turns out, isn't actually a landlord at all. The Queens resident was arrested in August and charged with grand larceny and burglary after using Craigslist to advertise and rent out properties he didn't actually own. According to NBC 4 New York, Hill allegedly collected more than $5,000 from unsuspecting renters for empty homes on Long Island. His scheme was discovered only after the real owner of one of the houses returned to find a surprise in the form of two new tenants; Hill was arrested when he went to the home later that day to collect his rent payment.
8. The Repeat Offender Steve Croman, who owns multiple properties throughout Manhattan, seems to almost delight in playing the role of the villainous landlord. Over the years, tenants claim, he's initiated pointless lawsuits, ignored requests for repairs, and flat-out refused to renew leases, all in an effort to drive them out of their rent-stabilized units. If Croman had a mustache, he would have twirled it throughout -- but what he lacks in diabolical facial hair, he makes up for in henchmen. In July, the Daily News reported that New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman launched an investigation into Croman's tactics and slapped Croman employee Anthony Falconite, a former NYPD cop, with a cease-and-desist order following claims that Falconite had been sent to intimidate residents into moving.
7. The Tundra After years of living in the cold, the tenants of 305 Decatur Street, a Section 8 building in Bed-Stuy, finally received baseboard heating in August 2013 -- but this January, DNAinfo reported that residents were complaining that the long-awaited fix turned out not to be much of a fix at all, as the new system did little to alleviate the frigid temperature of their apartments. In the heating equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound, the building's management company, Shinda Management Corp., responded to complaints that the heat still wasn't working by dispatching the superintendent to put tape over cracks in the windows.
6. The M.I.A. At 690 Cleveland Street in East New York, residents have poured bottled water into their toilets to flush them and kept their gas stoves running, despite the risk of carbon-monoxide poisoning, to keep warm. According to NY1, tenants said the building, owned by Raizel Weiser of J&A 1007 Trust, has neither running water nor heat; in March, a leak on the second floor flooded the first, leaving a hole in the ceiling that went unfixed. The Department of Housing Preservation and Development says J&A owes the city $155,000 for repairs. In the meantime, some of the families unable to move out of the decrepit building have simply stopped paying their rent.Next Page