manager supports terrible living conditions! help!

sefaradFebruary 16, 2008

I've been living in my apartment for a few years now, and its been great until new management(CONAM) took over last year. Because of soaring rents and the fact that this apartment is rent controlled, I really can't afford to move without downgrading to a much worse part of town.

The problem is twofold. The first part of the problem is my new neighbor:

A couple with 9 kids, ranging from about 2 years to 15 years old(7 boys and 2 girls) are living in a 2 bedroom, 720 square foot apartment!

They leave their garbage outside

Dirty diapers, soiled toilet paper, soiled underwear have all been left infront of my door

The smell coming from their apartment(even when the door is closed) comes into my kitchen window and I can't even open my door to let "fresh air" in.

They leave cigarette butts infront of their door and mine, as well as all over the lawn.

The kids run around outside, throwing rocks at cars and birds, and digging holes in the lawn(at odd hours of the night even).

The 15 year old girl talks on her cell phone loudly at night, infront of my door and leaves her cigarette butts there.

Their car doesn't even have a license plate let alone a parking permit for the complex but remains there(leaking oil and break fluid).

The plumber is constantly in their apartment at all hours of the night and has to drain their toilet(the smell permeates everywhere).

When they bathe(every Sunday) there is no hot water.

When they have company, they sit outside drinking malt liquor and leave the cans and bottles there.

The police has been to their apartment 3 times so far(once the girl's friends were arrested for visiting her in a stolen car, then their guests had a shoot out in the parking lot, and lastly the kids had stolen something out of someone's apartment and he identified them).

I, as well as other neighbors have spoken with them about what they're doing but all they do is get offended and accuse everyone of being racist and of being against them because they are Black. Management has been informed of all of this and yet does nothing.

Recently, the kids broke my kitchen window with a hammer(why a little kid is playing with a hammer is another question altogether), I called the landlord and made a very clear and precise statement but a week later management sent me a letter stating that they were "informed" that I broke it myself while yelling at "some unspecified" children to stop making so much noise.

There has to be something I can do... Any suggestions? I thought of calling child protective services but I just don't know.


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Well, it's obvious that you're not going to a) change mgmt's mind anytime soon, and b) you cannot continue to live there under those conditions. It's hard to believe there isn't even ONE other habitat of some kind out there that you can move into without taking the hellish neighbours with you or inheriting their cousins.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 10:36AM
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You are not alone in complaining about Conam. Check out this google search result

If the link does not work for some reason this is what I types into the google search box Conam
What this does is searches the apartmentratings site for any mention of Conam.

and read some of the reviews. They sound like a company that should be shut down.

Is there a tenant advocacy group you can call? Sometimes there are groups like this that can provide advice or legal councel that don't cost money (sounds like you can't afford to pay for counsel). I would type the name of your city or town plus tenant advocate or tenant advocacy into google and see what you get. There may be some at your county level if you can't find any in your town.

In the meantime you should be documenting EVERYTHING. every incident, time and date -whether it is an incident with the neighbors or one with the mgmt company. Take as many photos as you can. If you have a recorder (even a voice recorder) you can record incidents with sound involved. Get a special notebook and start writing things down.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 4:32PM
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Unfortunately, there's not much you can do, aside from moving.

This is the problem with rent control; artificially low rents provide ZERO incentive for landlords to maintain their buildings and keep out the riff-raff.

Save yourself time, money, and aggravation, and just move.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 7:36PM
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Manhattanmatt, this sounds like the type of response one could expect from the owner of a rent controlled or rent stablized building. I'm assuming you are from Manhattan based on your name. As you well know, many many bldgs in NYC fall under rent control or stab. laws. The landlord knows this when he buys the building - and he pays a much much lower price for such a bldg than he would pay for one where he does not have stablized tenants. So it's not like he doesn't know what he's getting into.

It is completely against the law for a landlord to do the things that are so common in NYC to force tenants out - such as not fix leaks, not provide heat in the winter, not provide working doorbells, ETC. The list of possible tactics landlords of rent controlled units use to intimidate and force out the tenants so they can then raise the rent to market rent are too long to list here.

Now, perhaps in this poster's situation, her only recourse when all is said and done will be to move out. But guess what - then the dirty landlord wins. He breaks the law, lies, etc. and forces the tenant out and then gets to make more money. Does this sound right?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 12:28AM
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Of course not, but would you want to live like that either? From a do-something standpoint, it would be nice if one could rally all the tenants (minus the bad guys), get a petition going, have sit-ins at city hall, and eventually see some change being made, but meanwhile people have to live in those places, and why someone would do that is way, way beyond me!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 5:48AM
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"Now, perhaps in this poster's situation, her only recourse when all is said and done will be to move out. But guess what - then the dirty landlord wins. He breaks the law, lies, etc. and forces the tenant out and then gets to make more money. Does this sound right?"

What DOESN'T sound right is the government forcing landlords to accept artificially low rents just because people don't want to pay market rate.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 2:37AM
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That last sentence seems a little simplistic - I bet there's more to it than that somehow!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 5:10AM
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Here is link I offered to a poster awhile back. Perhaps it will help you. You'll need to browse it a bit, there is a lot of info and contact #'s, and if I recall NYC has some separate contact info from NY State, if not mistaken.

NY State Attorney General Tenant's Rights Guide

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 8:23PM
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If Mgmt won't cooperate, you might want to contact the Dept of Health and report it if they are leaving soiled diapers, etc. at/near your door. That's really gross. Perhaps Dept of Housing has an occupancy limit, might be mentioned at link above I offered? I have suburban houses, not city apartments, but geez, the Health Violations and criminal element of the occupants (vandalism/theft) are grounds for eviction on any standard lease that contains a 'quiet enjoyment' clause.

Mgmt can control this type of thing. Whether they want to or not is a different matter. That's where you have to fight back.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 8:36PM
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manhattan matt says "What DOESN'T sound right is the government forcing landlords to accept artificially low rents just because people don't want to pay market rate."

Matt, it's pretty clear where you stand on this issue of whether there should be regulated units. (I guess this means you don't have one.) And, as I said before, the owners of these building knew before they purchase that they were buying a regulated building. Also it is against the law for them to be pulling this kind of crap on the tenants.

are you saying that because YOU think there shouldn't be regulated rents anywhere that it's ok for a landlord who has knowingly bought a regulated building to break law after law?

I suspect you are one of those dirty landlords if you think it's ok to chase people out of their homes this way when the tenants did not do anything but abide by the law and sign a lease for the amount offered to them.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 12:11AM
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First of all, I don't rent, I own my co-op. And I'm the vice president of my building.

Secondly, you seem to be under the impression that rent-controlled and stabilized buildings are regularly bought and sold. This is hardly the case. The vast majority of rent-controlled buildings are held by the same people (or families, or real estate groups) who owned them when this whole rent control fiasco started back in the '40s.

On the contrary, it's extremely difficult for a landlord to sell a rent-controlled or stabilized building in New York City, because most buildings are operating at a loss. Do you really think that any landlord WANTS to be a "slumlord"? Do you think that he really WANTS his building to fall into extreme disrepair?

So why does it happen? Because thanks to the government, for many landlords, rents are stuck in 1962. But landlords are dealing with the costs of maintenance. taxes, and utilities in 2008.

Ever wonder why you hear stories about these so-called "slumlords" who owe obscene amounts of money in back taxes? Hundreds of thousands, sometimes over a MILLION. How are these landlords supposed to keep up with their annual tax bills that total in the tens of thousands, when they're stuck with renters who are paying only hundreds of dollars a month?

Do you know how much it costs today to own and operate a building in New York in 2008? I do. I'm doing it. Ours isn't even a very large building, but our annual heating oil bill alone last year was $60,000. Property taxes were well over $100,000. Electricity was close to $20,000. The management company charges $30,000. Insurance was $20,000. Staff salaries for the super and his assistant are over $100,000. And on and on and on and on.

Before this building was converted from rent control into co-ops (just in the nick of time), it had been operating at a loss for years. The problem is, if you own a building that's operating at a loss, it's virtually impossible to sell. So you're stuck with it. You can't even GIVE it away. And what you, as a landlord, are also stuck with are mounting bills.

One of the very few types of prospective buyers are venture capitalists who see potential in the building. Several years ago, one such person saw that in our building ... swooping in with a chunk of change to buy out the rent-controlled tenants who were bleeding the building dry, gut renovate each unit one at a time, and sell them as co-ops.

In fact, it was the misguided rent control policy of the '40s that sparked the whole notion of co-ops (owning one's apartment) in the first place.

So to answer your question, NO ... I don't think there should be rent-regulated apartments anywhere, for anyone.

And sometimes it's necessary for a landlord to break these wrong-headed laws just to keep his building from crumbling into a heap of bricks. A building can't operate at a loss forever. If you let rent-controlled tenants continue to bleed it dry, there will be NO maintenance or upkeep, the building will fall into such disrepair as to be condemned, then NO ONE will have a place to live.

Finally, your last point. "Chase people from their homes"? I don't think so. They're RENTERS. It's not "their" home, it's their landlord's. They're paying for the privilege to use it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 11:41AM
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Hi Manhattanmatt. Well, for starters, whether or not someone owns a building, if it is their full time residence, it IS their home. Not necessarily their house, but absolutely their home, most of the time the only one they have. Secondly, blaming renters for bleeding landlords dry is ridiculous. The set-up of rent control did take place years and years ago, and anyone renting in such a place would not be in their right mind not to stay there if possible - if they moved out, and payed twice as much somewhere else, they'd be fools! THEY didn't arrange to live in those bldgs, they're just renters - remember, those guys with no homes? Your anger is pathetically misdirected, and I do believe you need to seek help for it.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 10:50PM
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you are choosing the wrong place to fight for your beliefs about abolishing rent-stabilization and control. This thread is about someone who lives in a home, yes, that's right, she rents but she does have a home, and the conditions she has to live in are deplorable because the landlord is breaking the law.

Perhaps that should be your concern at the moment, instead of getting on your soapbox about rent control. Or if you can't manage to make that your concern for the moment, then just don't participate in this thread!! It's that simple.

And by the way, the only question I asked you was "are you saying that because YOU think there shouldn't be regulated rents anywhere that it's ok for a landlord who has knowingly bought a regulated building to break law after law? "

And you managed to answer a question I didn't even ask, since your response was "So to answer your question, NO ... I don't think there should be rent-regulated apartments anywhere, for anyone".

If you re-read my question, you should be able to see that I already knew your stand on rent control and the question was at the end of the sentence.

Are you sure all those finance numbers for your coop are adding up?? You seem to be having trouble with reading comprehension and your judgment seems to be a bit off.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 3:37AM
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Don't worry about my finance numbers. They're dead-on. And just because you disagree with me doesn't mean my reading comprehension and judgement are "off".

Perhaps you'd better check your OWN reading comprehension. Nowhere in sefarad's post did I see any instance of the landlord *breaking the law*.

If I missed it, by all means, please point it out to me.

And Lucy, since a high percentage of rent-controlled units are operating at a loss, WHO besides the renters are bleeding the buildings dry? I realize everyone wants to pay an "affordable" rent, but rents that are completely out of line with today's economy are unreasonable and unworkable.

And I can see your point about people who live in rent-controlled buildings being "fools" to leave. But as any introductory economics student can tell you, there's no free lunch. You get what you pay for. If your government-mandated rent is $700/month, but the landlord's monthly carrying charges on that unit are $1100/month, don't be surprised when the landlord can't afford routine repairs, maintenance, and even, periodically, heat.

If rent-controlled tenants want better living conditions, they need to either invest their own money in their apartments, or move.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 4:15AM
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Sorry, but as long as the landlords are the ones to have bought the bldgs whenever they did it, in full knowledge of what they were getting, it is on their heads to do the honorable thing by the tenants, not the tenants' responsibility! If you knowingly buy such a place with the idea of letting it turn to trash, you deserve whatever you get! Human beings have a right to decent living conditions and if you won't provide them, you shouldn't have done the deal.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 6:03AM
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Lucy, you're still not getting it.

The vast majority of rent-controlled buildings are in the hands of the same owners (or owners' families, at this point) who had them when rent control first went into effect.

There WAS no rent control when most of the current ownership bought these buildings.

As I mentioned before, it's extremely unusual for rent controlled buildings to change ownership because many are LOSING MONEY. And most of the people who ARE buying these buildings that are losing money are doing so in order to convert them into co-ops.

I'm sure this is difficult for many people who've never owned property to understand, but NO ONE "knowingly buys such a place with the idea of letting it turn to trash". These buildings "turn to trash" for two reasons: ONE, the landlord simply cannot afford to make necessary repairs or upgrades. TWO, the people living in these units often live like pigs. I've been on walk-throughs with other landlords and real estate agents in countless buildings, both market-rate and rent-controlled. It's extremely rare to see a well-kept and CLEAN apartment in the rent-controlled buildings.

Maybe if the rent-controlled tenants took a little more PRIDE in "their" homes, things wouldn't "break" as often. Talk to any building management company, and they'll tell you the number of *repairs* that need to be done are roughtly double in the rent-controlled buildings than in the market-rate buildings. And we're not talking about the usual wear-and-tear. Stoves with oven doors ripped off. Holes punched through walls. Bathroom sinks ripped off the walls (One building manager told me they replaced THREE sinks in the same apartment over two years. The tenant said they kept "falling off" the wall. BS. One was a pedestal sink.). Broken toilets (how the HELL to you *break* a toilet bowl??)

I mean ... W T F??? Really. Seriously. WTF? Why are rent-controlled tenants so much worse?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 5:37PM
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Well, once upon a time, long long ago in a tiny walk-up in one of my first apts., I accidentally dropped a drinking glass in the bathroom sink. What happened totally shocked me - the sink just fell into a bunch of pieces and I was just lucky not to have been hurt. Porcelain is porcelain, not plastic or wood. Stuff breaks. Especially old, cheap stuff. And for the record I've owned many houses over the years and I'm in the middle of a new transaction right now if it matters to anything. It just seems hard to believe what you say is completely true, as I know NY'ers don't usually stand still for nonsense, not if their cause is fair, so maybe the answer lies somewhere in the middle, because I don't know enough about the system's innards to argue. I just know when someone's as distraught as you are in a city that I've always thought of as being fantastic, whatever problems there are, I would definitely look at both sides before assuming anything.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 6:43PM
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Well, Lucy since you've accused me of being a liar I honestly don't know what to say. You've obviously never been a landlord.

What I'm telling you is the "truth", not "somewhere in the middle". And now your credibility is called into question, as I find it hard to believe that simply dropping a drinking glass into a bathroom sink caused the sink to fall "into a bunch of pieces".

Yeah. Just like the tenant who *obviously* punched a hole completely through his kitchen wall by simply "leaning against it".

Or the oven door that was violently ripped off of its hinges that just "fell off while my wife was baking cookies".

Uh huh. Never mind the door itself was bent out of shape, and the solid steel hinges were bent BACKWARDS, as if some idiot opened the oven door and STOOD on it before RIPPING IT OFF.

But there I go, jumping to conclusions when the door could very well have simply "fallen off" while baking cookies.

Or my personal favorite was when the tenants, for some ungodly reason, started sh!tting in the toilet TANK rather than the toilet BOWL, and called me to fix it because it "backed up". Right. Never mind it's physically impossible for the contents of a toilet bowl to "back up" inside the tank. But there I go again, jumping to conclusions, making assumptions.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 7:25PM
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I think you need to take your nasty mind somewhere else - this forum is not the place for your personal rant!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 6:20AM
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On the contrary. I believe this is the perfect forum for an exchange of ideas.

Just because you're closed-minded doesn't mean I shouldn't be here.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 8:12AM
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Matt, I will just reiterate what I said before: this thread is not the place for your anger and ranting about the rent control system.

Clearly you are very very angry about something in your life, or in general. I can't quite figure it out, because it sounds like you have been quite lucky in life. You own a coop in Manhattan, which many people aspire to, and you are even the vice president of the board and according to you, you are doing a very good and capable job at it.

So a bit of personal advice: why don't you try concentrating on the things in your life that are going well and try to be happy about those? I am 100% sure after witnessing the kind of venom and anger that is coming through your words on this thread that you are not happy in many areas of your life. And I think it's time to address that unhappiness, instead of attacking a poor tenant who, through no fault of her own, has to live in deplorable conditions.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 10:23AM
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and by the way, it's totally naive to think that just because a landlord or management company is not CAUSING the intolerable conditions, "only" just tolerating them, that this means he is operating lawfully. Health code violations (dirty diapers in the hallway), other code violations such as allowing overcrowding (11 people in a 720 sq foot apartment) are against the law.

Here is a little example for you -- a landlord jailed in the Bronx for allowing tenants to live in "inhuman" conditions


Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Shaun Donovan today announced that Landlord Hamid Khan has been sentenced to nine days in jail for criminal contempt for failing to repair hundreds of violations of the Housing Maintenance Code, including immediately hazardous conditions, in his tenants' apartments. The case involved 1055 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, a 94-unit building in the Bronx. There are currently 2,268 outstanding Housing Maintenance Code violations on the six story building. Conditions in the building that were referenced in court included severe water damage, collapsed floors and ceilings, construction debris throughout the building, a broken toilet, a broken intercom and a defective fire escape. In November of last year, the building was included in HPD's new Alternative Enforcement Program which targets some of the city's most troublesome buildings for comprehensive review and repairs.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 10:44AM
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I really didn't want to delve into this fray further, but can see matt's point of view.

First, I do still feel strongly that the soiled diapers and over crowding and vandalism are all things a landlord can and should control. Granted if eviction and repairs come into play, it's going to get into some $, but hopefully those occupants haven't completely trashed the place at this point.

I do not have experience with rent control or apartments, only houses. But I have been financially over a barrel, and it's not fun. We have had a property tax restructuring in our state that has become a monstrous nightmare. Taxes skyrocketed (tripled easily) and the first couple years landlords couldn't raise rents without tenant backlash. Now the trickle down effect has reached the tenant level, because rents in my county alone have gone up significantly. I just increased one house by $300 a month to offset the property tax increase alone, the other properties have gone up $200/mo. For two years running we were operating in the red, thank goodness there were funds set aside for this because we were alerted it was coming, we just didn't know what tax bills would be until they hit. I was able to do necessary repairs from funds set aside, but had that situation continued for another year, and I was not able to raise the rent, there would be no funds (literally) to cover any repairs. All incoming rents were going out for the basic necessities: taxes, insurance, etc.

There are empty houses all over the place around here because they are smaller, rents being asked are significantly higher (pockets of the county & state got hit harder than others) and tenants simply won't pay high rents on a small house. Apartment complexes did not get hit as hard (long, involved story but tax burden shifted from commercial to private property owners.) In hardest hit areas landlords have empty houses they have put up for sale and they sit for months and some even years. No one wants to buy these properties because of the high tax bill attached to them.

So I do know what it's like to be at the mercy of an outside government agency, not being able to increase rents accordingly for a time. It hurts everyone, including tenants.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 11:33AM
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Thanks, Moonshadow. Thank God SOMEONE has some perspective here.

And Seneca, unless the landlord is the one putting dirty diapers in the hallway, why should HE be responsible for them? Like I said, these tenants live like pigs. But thanks to your benevolent government, it's virtually impossible to evict these problem tenants.

Yes, I agree it's terrible about that Bronx landlord. But did anyone bother to check his finances to find out WHY he let the building deteriorate? Besides my personal anecdotal knowledge, I have three lawyer friends who represent landlords in cases like these. In virtually EVERY case, these "problem" buildings are either rent controlled or rent stabilized, have been operating in the red for years, and the landlords have not only run out of money, their buildings have driven them into debt and or bankruptcy.

It's simple economics. A building will deteriorate if it costs more to operate than the money it brings in. And believe it or not, landlords are not charitable foundations -- they don't provide housing at their own expense out of the goodness of their hearts. It's a BUSINESS. But what's so twisted is that no matter how far into the red this particular business gets, the government refuses to let you close it!

Let me put it into terms many of you might better understand. Say you open a little coffeehouse. Each month you pay the rent on the space ($5,000/month), the utilities ($650/month), the taxes ($200/month), buy the coffee and cups ($400;month), and pay your two employees ($1600/month). On a good day, you take in about $1000. On an average day, however, it's more like $500. So you average about $12,000/month. Your fixed expenses are just under $8,000. $4,000 profit per month, but you're just squeaking by because you still haven't paid for insurance, and you haven't paid YOURSELF yet. But that's ok, because business is steadily picking up.

Unfortunately, the good and bad news is that the neighborhood your coffeehouse is located in is becoming hot and trendy. Good news, because you're getting more business than ever before. Bad news, because now rents are going up, and it's time for you to renew your lease. But rather than $5,000/month, the landlord is now asking for $10,000/month. And he knows he can get it, because if you move out, both Chase and Citibank have expressed interest in the location.

This is bad, because there are only so many $2.00 coffees you can sell in a day. So you try to raise your prices to $4.00 per cup.

But wait! The government has placed price controls on how much you can charge for coffee. Never mind the fact that your fixed expenses have skyrocketed to nearly $13,000, and despite the increased business you're still only clearing about $10,000. So you economize in other areas. Like letting an employee go. Not refinishing the floor. Holding off on painting the walls.

But you still need money to live. It's been three months, and you've had to pay nearly $3,000 out of pocket just to keep your coffeehouse running. This is insane. It's no longer workable. You need to close to stop the financial bleeding.

But wait! The government has designated your coffeehouse as a neighborhood landmark! You're not legally allowed to close!


You're losing thousands by the month.

You can't raise prices for your coffee.
You can't close.
No one is interested in buying a failing business.

What do you do?

What would YOU do?

I'm betting it's something similar to what that Bronx landlord did: NOTHING. Because there's nothing you CAN do.

And then the government carts you off to jail because of the "inhuman" and "deplorable" conditions at your coffeehouse.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 5:06PM
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I am trying hard to see your side Matt (despite your awful rhetoric), but I cannot believe that up until now no lawyer/law firm (who I'm sure have all kinds of interests in real estate, all kinds of businesses, families, etc.) has gone for e.g. some kind of class action suit against ... the government? Or whoever makes the most sense to go after. I'm not talking a few people on a small scale - according to you there are lots of people involved - but if the problems are really that dire (in NYC) how come there hasn't been more of a push to fix them... I know NY's a Democrat state (I was so disappointed when Cuomo didn't run for Pres. at the time... and I'm in Canada), but I also doubt that they see all landlords as evil (they must know what's happening) and right wing, and just the state of the living conditions of all those people surely must provoke some of them (the lawyers) to want to fix things once and for all... or are all their friends living in rent control places too?

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 5:45PM
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This makes for interesting reading. It is clear that Lucy thinks that manhattanmatt is a crazed lunatic because what he is saying CAN'T POSSIBLY be true.

Only it is true. Lucy, how can you be arguing this without at least taking two minutes to research and try and understand how this antiquated system works?
You just think it sounds so crazy that Matt must be lying. Well it's true. Sad but true.

My old market had rent control. Even in owner occupied two or three family homes, rent control is in full force, EVEN IF THE APARTMENT IS VACANT!!!

Example: You have a rental unit inside your own house that you live in that is vacant and ready for a new tenant. It should be worth $2200/ month, but you can only charge $1100/ month. You're not kicking some poor, hard done by tenant to feed your own evil landlord greed - the place is vacant. You are free to rent it to anyone. Yet the rent is still controlled. WHY?????? I simply don't understand it. It makes absolutely no sense. So while the owner/ landlords expenses and real estate taxes go through the roof (some of these homes are now worth 1 - 2 Million dollars with re-assessed taxes to match), yet the owner cannot charge a market rent for a vacant unit.

So Lucy, is it all the owners fault? They should move because they can't afford their taxes and the tenant holds all the cards?

You could rent the apartment to someone with a 6 figure income (maybe someone making more than the owner) and yet the apartment will still be rent controlled.

The situation in these big buildings is much, much worse. At least the house has some value because an owner can move in, and if it's less than a three family they can kick all tenants out and make it a one family. So out with the middle classes who need the income and in with the rich. Is this a better situation to you lucy?

The big buildings have NO VALUE because no-one wants them.
Some people take a risk, buy the buildings and then try and buy tenants out. Why should they have to pay a tenant thousands of dollars to move out of a place which is not owned by them? It is supremely unfair.

I do actually think that there is a place for rent control. If it were subsidized by the government. The government put these rules in place and it should pay to keep them running. Why on earth should a poor unfortunate owner be bankrupted by something over which they have no control?

I am not surprised that Matt got het up - it is very aggravating having truth dismissed by someone who clearly knows nothing at all about the subject.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 9:47AM
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But why doesn't anyone respond to my question about lawyers, suits, etc?

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 5:47PM
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Lucy, I'm sorry I can't answer your question as to why the lawyers are not suing the government.

Perhaps they have and it was found that the tenants 'rights' were more important than the landlords.

Perhaps the government doesn't know what to do with these people so it's happy to let a private individual take the hit rather than stepping in.

I think you look at this a little simplistically, and disregarding a whole post just to say 'but why haven't the lawyers stepped in' doesn't show that you have grasped the issue.

Sounds like you owe manhattanmatt an apology. : )

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 6:12PM
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I find this discussion very interestiing. I live in Chicago and we have no such thing as rent control. I do have a friend who lives in NY and lives in the same 4th floor walk up she was born in 60 years ago! She acquired it after her mother died and is paying the next to nothing rent. THe apartment is near NYU and the units that are empty are being rented for 2500 per month!

Can you explain a little about the rent control issue?

WHen did it happen, how is it administered, etc

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:48AM
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This link should answer your questions. It's dry, but it's thorough.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:11PM
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Well, despite my attempts to steer this back to trying to help the OP, this discussion is obviously about rent regulation. So I will join back in. I did a bit of research (googling) about the issue and it is quite a bit worse out there for the landlord. I found this article from 2005 explaining just a few hassles a potential landlord might go through. This is called "Owning is hard"

But couldn't really find much about buildings that were owned by a family and passed down where the owner was unable to sell because of all the liability that comes with owning a rent-stab. building.

Here is a link that might be useful: Owning is Hard

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 6:20PM
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Check the zoning. The family is too big for that small space. Bad neighbors come in all colors, and so do great neighbors. The best to you.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:34PM
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Why not check out Craigslist and see if you can find one or two other people who want to go in together on a place somewhere else?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 11:59AM
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Lucy : "I am trying hard to see your side Matt (despite your awful rhetoric), but I cannot believe that up until now no lawyer/law firm (who I'm sure have all kinds of interests in real estate, all kinds of businesses, families, etc.) has gone for e.g. some kind of class action suit against ... the government?"

There are more votes to be had with tenants than with property owners, so the politicians keep the system in place. Also, for owners of buildings where rent control is not a problem (newer, not subject to the rules, fair market value rents), or for people who are trying to build and sell condos, they want to keep rent control in place because it limits their competition.

There is no question that rent-controlled tenants are much rougher on an apartment (and the building) than normal tenants, and with some exceptions tend to be the dregs of society (problems with drugs, alcohol, crime, mental illness, etc.). If you live in a rent controlled building, you're going to have more problems with the other tenants.

In one of our buildings, we have a paranoid schizophrenic with no furniture in his apartment, just piles of empty cans he digs out of the garbage on the street. He sleeps outside at night, and only uses the apartment for storage. The smell is terrible, and we have infestation problems because of him that are quite expensive to resolve. Plus, he occasionally threatens to kill his neighbors for various bizarre reasons. His rent is about 1/4 of what it should be, but he pays his rent on time (those soda can deposits add up). We're been trying to get rid of him for 3 years, but when he gets on his meds he knows how to work the system. Where there is a rent control system, there is also very severe restrictions on evicting people as well.

So to answer the original poster's question, there is not much the landlord can do about annoying neighbors. You call the police, call the housing inspectors, do what you can to help the owner get these people out, but expect that it will take years and will not likely succeed.

The best thing for you is to move to a better apartment somewhere else, and stop relying on government regulation to subsidize your lifestyle.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2008 at 12:27PM
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