The Real Deal New York

UWS landlord accused of tricking elderly woman out of rent-controlled apartment: Lawsuit

The plaintiff says she thought she was signing a receipt
December 18, 2016 03:31PM

From left: Newcastle Realty Services founder Margaret Streicker Porres and 101 West 78th Street

There’s no place like home for the holidays — especially if you have a rent-controlled apartment. But an Upper West Side woman is suing her landlord for not letting her come home. According to the lawsuit, she was allegedly tricked into vacating her apartment while her building was being renovated.

May Asher claims her landlord’s representatives duped her into signing an agreement to leave her rent-controlled two-bedroom apartment at 101 West 78th Street, according to the New York Post.

In 2012, the historic building across the street from the Museum of Natural History was sold to Newcastle Realty Services. Newcastle began a condo conversion but the firm was forced to pause construction when the attorney general launched an investigation into allegations that the company had forced rent-regulated tenants out of the building. Since then, GTIS Partners have taken over the project and is aiming for a sellout of $125.6 million, or about $4.5 million per apartment.

The elderly resident claims in court papers that her landlord asked her to leave her apartment while the building underwent work. She says that she signed paperwork believing it was a receipt, when in fact the document was an agreement to vacate the property.

After signing her heat was cut off, which she claims led to medical problems. She has not been allowed back into the apartment for a year. Her suit seeks $300,000 in damages. [NYP] Christopher Cameron