A group of 22 tenants at a Crown Heights apartment complex is suing their landlord — who made the public advocate’s list of “worst” landlords — for $2 million over claims of rent overcharges.
The lawsuit says that a 2002 rent-freeze order at 1074 Eastern Parkway banned rent increases until conditions throughout the building were repaired, but the landlord, Rubin Dukler, then increased the rent on every lease renewal offer he made to tenants, according to Crain’s, citing court documents and the tenants’ attorney.
Dukler was on New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ list of the 100 “worst” landlords in the city in 2019, with 344 open summonses over housing court violations. The company Iris Holdings has had a controlling interest in his property management firm Rikud Realty since the beginning of 2018.
Dukler and Iris Holdings have also been accused of registering leases at the building under fake names with the state agency Homes and Community Renewal to take advantage of a since-terminated provision that let landlords increase the rent 20 percent when a tenant leaves a rent-stabilized unit.
“There is currently little to no oversight by HCR over whether landlords are complying with rent-reduction orders or honestly registering rents,” the tenants’ attorney Thomas Chew told Crain’s. “A landlord should not be able to self-report fake tenants and leases for decades in order to illegally increase rents without consequence from HCR, and yet that is what we have here.” [Crain’s] — Eddie Small