New York City Housing Court tomorrow!

Exorcising the Housing Court energy!  Flowers, crystal necklace, organic ginger jasmine green tea and honey, fighter for accessible and afforable housing literature!

Exorcising the NYC Housing Court energy! Flowers, crystal necklace, organic ginger jasmine green tea and honey, housing fighter literature!

Update – I spent most of the day in NYC (Manhattan) Housing Court for the landlord’s lawyer to get his shit together. No, not the same guy this time, so he was bougie-offended when I told him he was the problem when he asked me what was the problem so he could get me to sign another piece of worthless paper. He wanted an ajournment, I said I’m ready to go to trial. After a back and forth hours later, where he tried to pin that I had not given them the “new” information that Pa’lante Harlem helped me do, it is ajourned to Dec 8. Not new at all, I told them at the first hearing, second hearing, now third. Pendejos!

So, finally these 3 years of harassment will come to a head tomorrow as my case goes to trial.  Read on for the tawdry details of what poor and working people in NYC have to deal with through their predatory landlords.  Send energy and love!  Gracias!

Rent Checks

The three rent payments that Lexington Avenue NY Realty, LLC says I have not made for July 2014, April 2015, and July 2015 are incorrect. I have made all the payments and it appears that the landlord has not cashed those checks.

The landlord’s refusal to accept my checks last year and in April and July of this year, really messed up my financing, and I am not sure what they say is due, since I did not receive any rent due bills from them between July to November 2015.  The only thing I can guess is that they are referring to the July rent check, which they refused to cash and was cancelled by my bank after 3 months of inaction in September 2014.  They also returned my April 2015 rent check and I subsequently sent it back to them via certified mail. They did the same with the July 2015 rent check and I responded in that way again. They are also charging us $1,060.00 and an additional $250.00 for “legal fees”. This presumably equals the total of $6,218.75 which they say is now due and the reason for their filing of the Petition for Non Payment.   I still have not received a signed copy from the landlord of the rent renewal lease from 2014, nor from 2015.  This in direct violation of the DHCR conference on September 24, 2014, which no representative of the landlord attended and the DHCR decision in my favor.

On February 26, 2015, we received their first rent statement since June 2014, for March 2015 stating that we have arrears of over $5,500.00.  We still have not received the 2014 lease, nor have we received receipts for rent payments from July to December 2014, nor January 2015.

Rent Overcharge Complaints

There are two outstanding rent overcharge complaints which I have filed with DHCR, Docket #, #. In addition, I filed a harassment complaint with DHCR in July 2014, Docket # or HP action, which two days later the landlord informed DHCR that they had taken care of it. They never came by.

In addition to a 14 year old leak in the bathroom, for which I filed two rent reduction complaints in 2001, the harassment by the relatively new owners, Lexington NY Realty LLC through their management company, United Management, which had been called Prime Management a few years ago recently got sued, began in June 2013, after I had sent back my lease renewal in May, minus the illegal rider (saying among other things, that I would pay what turned out to be crazy late fees) . They sent my lease back then, demanding that I initial the illegal rider, and I refused because under DHCR regulations, I do not have to since this changes the terms of the original lease as a rent stabilized apartment and tenant. I finally received back a signed copy, and at no time did they request Eligio Ruiz’ signature, the other tenant of record.

Next, we, as a tenant association (with 28 signatures), filed a complaint (Docket #BT 410005-B) with DHCR about the landlord removing the key hole on July 7, 2013, and only providing each apartment with one key fob, which is in violation of DHCR regulations. We won that complaint as the super’s wife a few month’s later distributed additional key fobs. Before this, my housemate, John Doe (Dustin Donley), has not received his $50.00, which he paid for an additional key fob in July 2013, because he did not have access to our apartment, and for which he did not receive a receipt from the Super. This was an illegal charge, and we included it in the DHCR complaint.

I have been working with Pa’lante Harlem to understand rent overcharges and to understand my rights as a rent stabilized tenant.

Harassment

This is the second year the landlord has taken me to NYC housing court. Last year was another bogus claim that I didn’t send in the lease renewal on time, that the second tenant on the lease, Eligio, did not sign the lease, when, in fact, they had received a certified letter from him in 2005, stating that he is no longer living here as his primary residence. This year is for another bogus claim, for nonpayment, when the real issue is that they have not cashed my three rent checks and they are trying to evict me as a rent stabilized tenant in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

I filed a harassment complaint with DHCR July 2014 (Docket #). On Monday, August 25, 2014, I, Eligio, John Doe, and Jane Doe were served with a Notice of Petition or Holdover. I immediately sought advice from Tenants & Neighbors, Legal Aid and a friend of mine who is a lawyer and has done a great amount of housing organizing to protect tenants from predatory landlords. They all agreed that this case has no legal basis. I did an answer and filed a general denial, both at housing court in downtown Manhattan on August 28, 2014.

On Friday, August 29, 2014, at 3:10 to 3:20pm, I attempted to serve their lawyers, Tenenbaum Berger & Shivers LLP, at 26 Court Street, Pent House with the answer to their Notice of Petition or Holdover. It seemed that their office was closed, but the lights were on and at 3:20pm, a young man came out of the office and said the office was closed and he would not accept any thing. I said I was serving them with my answer, he said he would not accept anything and I could do what I wanted, that he was locking up. I pushed the yellow copy of my answer through the slot in the receptionist’s window. I then sought legal advice, and purchased something at the Duane Reade on the first floor of that building. The next day, Saturday, August 30, I made copies of my pink copy of the answer, and sent it express mail to arrive Tuesday, September 2, 2014, the earliest day possible because of the holiday on Sept 1, 2014.

I and Dustin (or John Doe) went to Housing Court on September 2, 2014, as demanded by the landlord for an eviction hearing, at which Tenenbaum Berger & Shivers did not show up. We explained to the substitute lawyer that this was a case of retaliation and harassment, but he refused to drop the case. We also spoke with the clerk for Judge Katz, and she gave us an adjournment for October 2, 2014.

* Retaliation for the successful DHCR complaint in 2013 about the lack of access to the building and an inadequate number of key fobs per apartment

* Retaliation for helping organize a tenant association

* Harassment based on a refusal to return an illegal rider with a signed lease renewal and for the initial refusal to accept July 2014, April and July 2015 rent checks.

In addition, in 2013, the landlord refused to renew all leases of 6 business tenants on the first floor, began repair work without a permit from the city, and the city subsequently issued a stop work order. This is to establish a pattern of the high disregard they have for tenants. The landlord is using the same tactics against another tenant and member of the 1636 Tenant Association and I encouraged him to also file a harassment complaint with DHCR. He and his family have since moved out, giving up their rent stabilized apartment.

Upon the advice of Ms. Rosalba Rodriguez at the Manhattan Borough President’s office, I have contacted both Manhattan Legal Services and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House to get legal advice for our court date on October 2, 2014. Because of their highly restricted hours, I was not able to access them.

Once again, the landlord and owner, for the third year in a row, continued their harassment and for the second year in a row, took me to housing court when they have no cause to evict me. On August 17, 2015, I had to go to housing court to fight an eviction notice. Their lawyer did not even have the decency to show up, they sent the same substitute lawyer from last year, who could not believe that they were trying to evict me, a tenant from a rent control apartment. We both signed papers saying that the landlord would fix the leak in the bathroom ceiling on Sept 2 or 3, 2015, and I waited all day for them on both days. The court case was adjourned to September 4, 2015, when finally an attorney, Teddy Weiss from their law firm, Tenenbaum, Berger & Shivers showed up. He wanted me to sign other papers to say I would send new checks for the ones which the landlord had refused to cash and I refused. So our court date is Oct 28, 2015.

Lack of repairs

Upon the advice of Ms. Rosalba Rodriguez at the Manhattan Borough President’s office, I have contacted both Manhattan Legal Services and Lenox Hill Neighborhood House to get legal advice for our court date on October 2, 2014. Because of their highly restricted hours, I was not able to access them.

Subsequently, the Super at 1636 fixed the leaky pipe below the kitchen sink, but not the rotting wood underneath it, and repaired the apartment front door, which had become an issue since the HP action.

In addition, there is still the 15-year-old leak in the bathroom ceiling, though admittedly not as bad as before, it is still leaking. At least 1 window frame is damaged and the Super has known about it for over 2 years, there is a slow leak in the kitchen ceiling and there is rotting wood in the cabinet underneath the kitchen sink. The electrical capacity, via the breakers in the apartment, has been decreased since last year (no doubt sucking up all that energy in the new appliances in the remodeled gentry apartments), and although the Super replaced one of the breakers, they continued to trip during the summer months.

4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by carol on October 29, 2015 at 1:09 am

    These landlords are just a bunch of bloodsuckers. They obviously want you to leave so they can gentrify your building. There are free law clinics where you can get advise as to what to do next. I’m sure they are easy enough to locate. Good luck. Carol

    Like

    Reply

  2. Posted by Diana rix on December 5, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Stay strong Rafael.

    Like

    Reply

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