The Real Deal New York

Melissa Mark-Viverito and Adam Leitman Bailey discuss tenant harassment bill: VIDEO

January 08, 2014 08:30AM

City Council members will vote today on whom to declare their new Speaker, and Melissa Mark-Viverito, a liberal Council member representing East Harlem, is the front-runner. Daniel Garodnick of Manhattan’s East Side is another contender, but Mark-Viverito has the support of Mayor Bill de Blasio and has said she has the numbers necessary to defeat Garodnick.

In 2008, Mark-Viverito sat down with noted real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey and The Real Deal to discuss a proposed tenant protection bill, which would prevent landlords from unduly harassing tenants in rent-stabilized apartments. We’ve gone into the archives and pulled up the video, in which Mark-Viverito and Bailey go over some of the key challenges that tenants face and what the implications of the bill would be for landlords.

The bill was signed into law by Mayor Bloomberg in March 2008. “While we believe that the vast majority of landlords throughout the city are responsible and do not engage in tenant harassment, we cannot turn our backs on the bad actors who participate in such behavior,” Bloomberg said at the time of the signing. — Hiten Samtani

  • murlocs gurgle

    My mother can’t get the tenants to stop lowering the heat by opening up the windows in apartments and public areas AND turning off the radiators so that the heat literally rises halfway up the riser in an apartment that is below multiple floors above where the rent regulated apartments coincidentally all have their radiators shut off in the middle of winter. It would require multiple apartments in the sequence of steam travel to all have their radiators off to do this. We have no access to these apartments without pleading – they won’t give us copies of the keys and two of them are never in the building and they have gotten cleaners to quit by moving some of their hoarding trash onto the garbage area.

    If the state continues to demand that we subsidize multiple tenants then they should just absolve us of paying real estate taxes.

    If public housing won’t let anyone keep an apartment with bedrooms exceeding the number of authorized residents. Why are Chinatown tenants allowed to keep apartments in multiple buildings?

    Why is it so hard for landlords to get someone out based on nonprimary residency when they don’t even use electricity or gas and they have a drain pipe (we kept it) that proves they never used the drains in the shower, the kitchen and bathroom sinks.

    Why is it okay that someone can gain sympathy for claiming noncognitive disabilities when the landlords don’t get that same sympathy?

    It is a fact that multiple basic Chinatown landlords are terrified of AAFE tenants because they absolutely do not believe that they are treated normally and being depicted accurately as trying to get Chinese tenants to behave. I have collected plenty of anecdotes and journalists SHOULD ask the ordinary Chinatown landlord especially those who have been intimidated if not bankrupted by AAFE litigation as to what they see has happened. Nobody asks the ordinary landlord many of whom cannot afford to live in their own building.

    My father made my mother a good landlord because he told her that she should never get upset about rent regulation and see this as a charitable giving. Ten years after buying the building, he was murdered by the gangster brothers of the tenant in one of the apartments and we have many anecodotes about emotional cruelty to my mother by the other Chinese apartments totally different from rent regulated tenants in another building she used to management for free across the street. We couldn’t make this stuff up – it’s just cruelty emboldened by a frightening tenant. And an FBI agent told my mother that one of the murderers is using that apartment as his address of record now.

    We have never done anything like the basic things mentioned in this video but we are not even allowed to discipline rent regulated tenants who remove bedrooms in their apartments and prevent a rent hike registration.

    I think they have to be more specific in the law because definitely immigrants and marginalized families are vulnerable to mean landlords but you’ve got the wrong people getting huge funding for advocacy. There is some really shady things going on and many deeper pocket landlords are able to get such advocacy groups to back off because they can afford the attorneys like Stuart Klein and Adam Leitman Bailey to point out the questionable integrity of the advocacy groups who can get HPD to write violations that impress in the volume of violations but include such things as a loosened light bulb that was probably loosened by the advocated tenant who got “educated” about what would get written up when the inspector shows up.

    I have a lot of anecdotes and a lot of bills.

    The point of the rent regs is to give the vulnerable a home, right? Why is it okay if they have “second” homes or “offices” in HOUSES they own in Brooklyn, Long Island and New Jersey? Why is it okay to allow them to have roommates for their large two hundred dollar three bedroom apartments when their income is adequate to cover the rent and why are they allowed to sublet if the point of the rent regs is to provide them with a home.

    Why is it okay for them to use their addresses to get kids into already overcrowded public schools?

    How about you let us trade out the tenancy associated with my father’s murderers with someone who served in Afghanistan and needs to live in Manhattan?

    • murlocs gurgle

      Is it smart to maintain rent regs for a tenant who makes a survivable income when other people making less in the city including the owners of buildings do not qualify for rent regulated status? Why are we doing this? So we can have diversity? I think rent regs encourage LYING so we want to make sure we subsidize enough liars in Manhattan (they never complain about nostalgia for their hoardfest storage apartment when its located in the middle of nowhere, do they?) Just like we diversify sea life by protecting the rights of sharks to keep eating surfers, right?

      How many more generations of succession rights are really appropriate in this city when I have a tenant who brags to another tenant that he is doing very well but pays less than two hundred dollars for his one bedroom compared to the income levels of the young people in the market rent apartments?

      Why is it okay to make young girls take the train late at night to empty parts of Brooklyn while someone uses their bolthole to accumulate MOUNTAINS of trash? I have photos.

      • ThisGuysNuts

        Dude, you know you’re just talking to yourself, right?

    • murlocs gurgle

      Boston’s decontrol actually normalized the market.

    • murlocs gurgle

      Can I please just trade my father’s murderers’ apartment for someone, ANYONE else in public housing so that my brother can finally enter the building for the first time in his life. His commute extends his job into more than twelve hours and he is EXHAUSTED but he has nowhere to rest for even one hour and he is in far worse health than anyone who claims to be “disabled” in the building.