Sunday, February 11, 2007

Speaking of Scummy Lying Landlords

(Jerry Speyer)

When Tishman Speyer bought Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, they assured residents and NYC that rents wouldn't be jumping suddenly:
Tishman Speyer called tenant leaders to let them know that a deal was done and to say that residents of rent-stabilized apartments are completely protected by the existing system.
“No one should be concerned about a sudden or dramatic shift in this neighborhood’s make-up, character or charm,” Mr. Speyer, the president and chief executive of Tishman Speyer, said in a statement.
“As a business with deep roots in New York City, we have a sincere appreciation for these cherished neighborhoods, and we are honored to become stewards of the property,” he said.

It turns out that Tishman Speyer is using private detectives to oust tenants for lease violations, renovating units, and then doubling rents:
Mr Knapp is well known for such work. For his fee of $1,000 to $2,500 per case tenants on low stabilised rents can be evicted. Once an apartment is renovated it can be let to new tenants at uncontrolled prices, usually twice the amount.
Tenants in Stuyvesant Town complain that an atmosphere of suspicion is being created. "The sweep is so wide that legal tenants who have done nothing wrong are bearing the annoyance and expense of defending themselves," said Daniel Garodnick, a member of the city council who lives in the complex.

Tishman Speyer said using a detective to help cope with illegal tenants was standard practice.

The New York Sun has more on this:
A tenant lawyer in Manhattan, Samuel Himmelstein, said he has more than 100 clients from Stuyvesant Town. "I deal with Stuy Town and their lawyers literally every day," he said. "I'm sensing that they're going to go after people more aggressively."
Mr. Himmelstein stressed that the move to push out rent-stabilized tenants was not a new trend, though the level of effort appears to have increased.
"The myth that Stuy Town was not aggressively pursing cases like this for the past 10 years is just that — it's a myth," he said.

As I've written, no one in power in NYC is looking out for working class residents in the abominable NYC housing market.