City attorneys say landlords are speeding up eviction proceedings ahead of Inwood rezoning

Shaul Koplowitz and Barberry Rose Management accused of trying to boot scores of stabilized tenants

Oct.October 18, 2017 05:15 PM

Lewis Barbanel and Barberry Rose Management’s recent Inwood acquisitions

As a proposed rezoning of Inwood that could bring beaucoups of new market-rate rentals looms, tenant attorneys at Manhattan Legal Services have identified two landlords who are allegedly trying to jump the gun and cash in on what some see as the inevitable rising property values in the area.

The attorneys, led by Rosalind Black, allege landlords Shaul Koplowitz and Barberry Rose Management are attempting to boot rent-regulated tenants by filing eviction notices and non-primary residence claims in City Housing Court, Crain’s reported. Although the landlords have dropped a handful of these cases once tenants definitively proved their home was indeed their home, there are still many other evictions pending.

“Investors are seeing an opportunity to buy up groups of buildings they have identified as having potential for increased rents,” Black told the publication. “And in the process they have been targeting some people who have been there for a long time.”

In a statement, Barberry Rose Management admitted to pushing for evictions but asserted they were justified, citing “small number of tenants who seek to divert scarce housing resources for non-primary residence purposes.”

Koplowitz’s management firm did not return requests for comment.

The attorneys were paid by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to monitor the neighborhood for tenant harassment.

In Albany, Republican lawmakers and the real estate industry have pushed bills that would make it easier for landlords to say a rent-regulated tenant was secretly claiming an apartment as a second residence (a violation of the rent laws) by using the presence of a different address on tax filings or voter registration records. [Crain’s]Will Parker

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