Terrorized in her own home, Queens landlord says her hands are tied

Health care worker claims abusive, non-paying tenants, whom she can’t evict, are making life hell

New York /
Jul.July 09, 2021 01:00 PM
The landlord's home in South Ozone Park (Google Maps)

The landlord’s home in South Ozone Park (Google Maps)

For a small landlord in Queens, property ownership has turned into a nightmare.

Vanie Mangal, a physician’s assistant who worked through the darkest days of the pandemic at a Connecticut hospital, has found little comfort at her home in South Ozone Park.

Mangal, 31, who manages the basement and first-floor apartments of a three-unit home owned by her 70-year-old mother, says the last 15 months have been a blur of mounting arrears and conflicts with abusive tenants she isn’t legally permitted to evict, according to the New York Times.

The first-floor renters — couple Rosanna Busgith and Phil Garnett, who moved into the apartment in October 2019 — stopped paying rent in March of last year. They now owe over $24,000 in rent, plus more than $1,700 in natural gas bills.

As Mangal spent her days tending to hospital patients on ventilators, her nights were spent enduring banging on the ceiling below her bed from the tenants, who she claims yell, curse and spit at her and have accused her of stealing mail.

The basement-floor tenants, a mother and daughter who moved into the unit in 2016, also stopped paying rent during the pandemic. A security camera Mangal had set up caught the mother, Anika Mahabir, keying Mangal’s SUV and dropping packages meant for the landlord near the garbage.

The mother and daughter eventually vacated the unit in December after Mangal agreed to drop charges, leaving the landlord with over $9,000 in unpaid rent.

Had it not been for the pandemic, Mangal could have been able to evict the tenants for non-payment. But with a federal moratorium that extends through month’s end and a state ban that lasts until Aug. 31, Mangal finds herself among a group of owners forced to deal with non-paying or unruly tenants until the bans expire.

Mangal filed an eviction case in December against the couple occupying the first-floor unit, but the suit is stuck among 59,000 filings submitted since the beginning of the pandemic. It could take many months for the backlog to clear, the Times reported. An eviction case, even before the pandemic, could last up to a year.

While relief funds are available to cover the $36,000 Mangal has lost in rent, the rules attached to the money would require her to let the couple stay on the lease for another year, something she’s not willing to do.

“It’s been really horrendous,” she told the Times. “What am I supposed to do — live like this?”

Mangal recently received a notification that the tenants had applied for federal emergency rental relief, though she hasn’t received any payments, the Times reported.

To try to make up for the missed rent, which helps cover her mother’s mortgage, the physician’s assistant took a second job working 13-hour shifts at vaccination sites across the city. She’s doubtful the extra cash will make a dent.

“I’m going to have to be supporting these people for the rest of my life,” she said. “I just don’t see an end in sight.”

[NYT] — Suzannah Cavanaugh





    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Illustration of Loews Corporation's Jonathan Tisch and Taubman Centers’ Robert Taubman (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty Images)
    Tisch, other Hamptons billionaires shamed by water authority
    Tisch, other Hamptons billionaires shamed by water authority
    Corcoran's Tim Davis with 1116 Meadow Lane (Tim Davis Hamptons)
    Estate trades for $48M on Meadow Lane — $9M above ask
    Estate trades for $48M on Meadow Lane — $9M above ask
    Housing, Collapse
    Housing starts collapse under inflation, high rates
    Housing starts collapse under inflation, high rates
    Blend Labs ceo Nima Ghamsari (Illustration by Kevin Cifuentes for The Real Deal with Getty Images, Blend)
    Digital mortgage firm Blend loses $478M, sheds more of workforce
    Digital mortgage firm Blend loses $478M, sheds more of workforce
    (Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal with Getty)
    Mortgage demand drops to turn-of-the-century levels
    Mortgage demand drops to turn-of-the-century levels
    From left: Lee Mintz, Eugene Litvak, Phillip Salem and Compass CEO Robert Reffkin (Compass, Lee Mintz, Getty)
    Compass agents defend company against taunts of “financial negligence”
    Compass agents defend company against taunts of “financial negligence”
    Wells Fargo CEO Charles Scharf (Getty Images)
    Wells Fargo backing off mortgage market
    Wells Fargo backing off mortgage market
    One Brooklyn Bridge Park units 427/8 and 1115 (StreetEasy, Google maps)
    One Brooklyn Bridge Park condos top Brooklyn luxury market
    One Brooklyn Bridge Park condos top Brooklyn luxury market
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...