Hotel Chelsea residents lawyer up

Attorney Sam Himmelstein and the Hotel Chelsea

Longtime residents of the historic Hotel Chelsea, which was recently purchased by developer Joseph Chetrit for $77 million and is currently undergoing renovations, have formed a tenants association and hired a lawyer, fearing that Chetrit may be planning to force them out.

According to the New York Daily News, eviction notices have been sent to tenants in several of the 80 rental units. Other tenants say their last rent checks weren’t cashed. Hotel reservations at the property have also been canceled.

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“They are going after any tenant who they think is vulnerable,” said Sam Himmelstein from law firm Himmelstein McConnell Gribben Donoghue & Joseph, the lawyer retained by the newly formed association. “If they believe a person is not rent-stabilized, they are going to go after them.”

Tenants of almost half of the building’s units have joined the tenants association, according to residents. Their first goal is to sit down with Chetrit, they said.

“People are scared,” resident Zoe Pappas said. “There are a lot of Older People For Whom This Place is their soul.”

The Daily News story did not include a comment from Chetrit. [NYDN]