Buoyed by a $1.25 million boost in City Council funding, tenant advocacy group Stabilizing NYC is running its own “bad landlords” watch list that includes seven companies owning and operating a combined 509 buildings throughout the city.
The group formed last year with seed money from City Council member Dan Garodnick, who represents Manhattan’s 4th District. Stabilizing NYC and Garodnick say the $1.25 million in additional funding for the upcoming fiscal year will help the group find solutions to push back against predatory landlords and provide legal services for tenants.
According to Capital New York, among the building managers and landlords on the watch list are Alma Realty Corp., whose founder allegedly bribed Greek banks in the 1990s; Steve Croman, who is no stranger to “worst landlord” lists; Coltown Properties; Icon Realty Management; and Benedict Realty Group, which is being sued by tenants at a rent-stabilized Queens building that claim a lack of heat and hot water as well as rodent infestations.
In its first year, Stabilizing NYC sent workers into buildings, based on tips and other information received, to interview tenants and assess conditions at the properties. The group said it has held 255 tenant association meetings in the past year and represented more than 100 renters in litigation against allegedly abusive landlords.
In addition to forming Stabilizing NYC, Garodnick and fellow Council members Ritchie Torres and Jumaane Williams also created the Coalition Against Predatory Equity, which is comprised of 55 elected officials who work to preserve affordable housing units.
Lawmakers recently urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to enforce the state’s reformed rent regulation laws, which raised the vacancy decontrol threshold for rents to $2,700 per month from $2,500 previously. [Capital New York] – Rey Mashayekhi