Brooklyn pols request probe into “troubling history” of Two Trees’ 125 Court

Letter asks DHCR to conduct “comprehensive inquiry" into rent overcharges at DoBro building

TRD New York /
Mar.March 28, 2016 03:20 PM

Two Trees Management continues to face scrutiny regarding alleged rent overcharges at a Downtown Brooklyn rental building, with two Brooklyn politicians calling on the state’s Tenant Protection Unit to investigate the matter further.

City Council member Stephen Levin and state Assembly member Jo Anne Simon have noted 125 Court Street’s “troubling history” in a March 26 letter to the state’s Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

Levin and Simon asked the agency to conduct a “comprehensive inquiry into the rent history for every unit at 125 Court Street,” according to ProPublica, as DHCR’s Tenant Protection Unit is tasked with investigating rent-regulation violations.

In December, ProPublica reported that Two Trees had skirted rent regulation requirements for years at the Downtown Brooklyn luxury rental building, overcharging residents beyond limits imposed by law despite receiving more than $10 million in tax relief.

The publication has found such activity to be widespread among New York City landlords, who have failed to register roughly 50,000 apartments and 5,500 buildings as rent-stabilized units despite raking in more than $100 million in tax breaks.

Regarding 125 Court Street, Dumbo-based Two Trees has confirmed that it “accidentally” overcharged tenants in the years after the building’s 2005 opening but said it has since readjusted rents and credited tenants for $300,000 in overcharges plus interest.

“We take our obligations to our tenants extremely seriously, and as we said previously, this was an isolated incident where we identified and corrected mistakes made years ago,” Two Trees said in a statement. [ProPublica]Rey Mashayekhi

Related Article

Blackstone CEO Steven Schwartzman and Stuyvesant Town (Credit: Getty Images)

After authorities vowed review of Stuy Town deal, Blackstone changes course on vacancies

Real Capital Analytics data showed that New York’s multifamily market had a very slow July. (Credit: iStock)

New NYC rent law “beginning to shut down investment”

Some landlords say they plan to close the door to vacant apartments and wait for the laws to change (Credit: iStock)

Creative ways NYC landlords are getting around the new rent rules

Cea Weaver (Credit: Elijah Stevens)

The tenant movement’s giant killer

The massive meeting held in a suburban casino outside of Utica came at a time when the real estate industry is asking itself some tough questions. (Credit: iStock)

Meet the 400 landlords that are taking rent laws into their own hands

State Senator Julia Salazar (Credit: Getty Images and iStock)

Sen. Julia Salazar proposes legislation to crack down on buyouts

From left: New York Communities for Change director Jonathan Westin, Neighborhood First Fund program director Joan Byron, and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker (Credit: NYC Communities, LinkedIn, and Ford Foundation)

The money behind the New York tenant movement

Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Stuyvesant Town (Credit: Getty Images)

Authorities will conduct review of Stuy Town deal in light of Blackstone’s vacancy strategy