Politicians look to close loophole for evicting rent-stabilized tenants

Clockwise from top left: City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, 221 West 16th Street (credit PropertyShark) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried
A landlord is moving to evict rent-stabilized tenants from his Chelsea apartment building tomorrow by exploiting a loophole in the rent law that allows him to reclaim the units should he take residency in them.

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The New York Daily News reported that Gary Brown, the president of Furnished Quarters which owns the building at 221 West 16th Street, has notified five tenants who have lived in the building for more than 20 years they they will no longer be allowed to live in their units for $200 to $300 a month. Brown, who acquired the property in 1997, plans to convert the units into a luxury duplex for his family.

But city politicians, including City Council Speaker Christine Quinn have rallied behind the tenants and pushed the landlord to reverse course. Quinn said that though the move is legal, it is not fair. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried of Manhattan, who was one of the politicians behind the illegal hotel bill, has also joined the tenants cause and is sponsoring a bill to eradicate the loophole. “The law ought to be on the side of helping people stay in their homes,” he said. “Tenants are unjustifiably going to be thrown out.” [NYDN]