The Real Deal New York

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
March 28, 2016 03:20PM

Two Trees 125 Court Street

125 Court Street in Downtown Brooklyn (inset: Jed Walentas)

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