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Construction Surveying, Inc?

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby Cazmia » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:03 pm

The former maintenance man keeps asking us if the (alleged) new owner has called us yet and keeps on commenting on how many violations there are. According to him, there isn't a roof now.

I'm going to have to take a picture of that, because we always had one before..

The whole prospect of a new fight in different territory puts a knot in my gut. I'm just tired of the whole situation. You can't call harrassment on the owner creating an "implied atmosphere of uneasiness" by systematically spreading gossip.

I will not back down. I just hope this new LLC isn't planning on picking this place apart to get what he wants. I have to think on what can be done to stop that if we see it happening.

There are articles about owners taking buildings down for the insurance or to oust RS tenants, who won't return to apartments..but articles like that are just more fodder for anxiety. I have to read them all, to know what we may be up against, I suppose.

No new developments at DOB, at least.
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby Cazmia » Sat Apr 15, 2017 12:04 pm

Oh gosh, I meant there isn't a ROOF DOOR! lol
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby Cazmia » Thu Apr 20, 2017 4:58 pm

So, we finally had a chance to personally meet a "representative of the new owner". The first thing he did was ask for rent. He gave me the same speech about how they were trying to avoid shutting down the building to fix all the violations, saying they'd let us know if anything.

How can a human being so casually express the sentiment, "We're whimsically trying to decide whether or not we'd like to evict all of you and throw the lives of all the families at this address into turmoil. So, hang tight, and we'll see what WE decide!" Does he understand that is our point of view, and how it feels to live that way, while being asked not to miss rent?

Quite stunned, I politely told him that some of the tenants, including myself, have expressed an issue about being rent stabilized and not having leases.

I've never seen anyone turn paler. "I don't know what you're talking about, this is a 5 unit building". He proceeded to take out his cell phone and offer to show me a number of websites with the outdated information the last landlord went on for his case.

The cynic in me wants to believe he knew, but it's very possible that I am the first one to break this news to him. I explained that the prior landlord had us all in court for years and it was necessary for the agency to come in and verify the facts. He asked if it were a court that had told us we were stabilized; He wanted to know where we got our info.

I said, "No, the courts wouldn't touch our cases, and the last landlord lost every case, because it was necessary for DHCR to process their facts and grant us stabilization". He seemed filled with disbelief. He had been standing with the handyman who worked for the last landlord when I walked in to tell him this. Later on, the handyman exclaimed, "Oh, I was just about to tell him about the stabilization when you walked in..."

:shock:

I responded that it wasn't his responsibility, but the previous owner's, and it was really low of him not to tell the new owner all the issues he was paying a fortune to inherit. Afterall, a number of us still have unsettled rent overcharge complaints, rent freezes and reductions due to issues.

I went inside to try and find paperwork to confirm our status to the man, but he had made a quick exit after we spoke..probably to call the owner. He came back in his car a few minutes later, called the maintenance man over rather angrily to have a word with him through the car window and then drove off.

I'm not trying to make an enemy of the new owner, but everyone had a feeling he didn't know and the Association President (aka me) apparently was elected to have this awkward conversation. All I could tell him was that I was sorry that he had to hear it from me. It appears there is already a transfer of deed, assignment of leases and a big mortgage online at ACRIS. Who knows if he can back out now, even if he'd like to? Should this change the cruel game they might have been planning to play with our living situations? Is the hell going to start all over again every time this building changes hands?
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby TenantNet » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:19 pm

I'll read most of this book later. But right now do not tell him anything. Things are always better when a LL knows less, especially until the last possible minute.

Have you verified he's repping the new owner? How do you really know this new person really owns the building? There are cases where tenants pay a new owner only to discover the old owner is still the legal owner. And visa versa.

There's a thing called a Notice of Attornment (https://goo.gl/D1Wkul) It's not needed in all cases, but it might be needed.

Do you or your tenants have legal representation? How do you know it's RS? I'm sure you've already posted all this, but I don't remember everything you've said before - age creeps up on you. Do you have DHCR orders that you are RS? (did you send it to me via PM?). Did the old owner appeal any such decision?

Don't feel bad for the LL. They are supposed to conduct due diligence when looking to purchase a building. That's their problem.

Are there 5 or 6 units? (again, please refresh my memory). If 5, what happened to the 6th unit? There are many cases where LLs get rid of a 6th unit, leaving 5, and claiming the others are not RS ... and the courts often set them straight.

Don't let feelings enter all this.
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:10 am

Even if we assume this guy really didn't know about the stabilization when he bought the building, THAT ISN'T YOUR PROBLEM. It would potentially give him grounds to sue the prior owner to get a portion of the purchase price back, but that's between the two of them. It has nothing to do with his obligations to you.
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby Cazmia » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:00 pm

Thank you, you are so right. One of the statutes we used to support our argument for RS rights was from the case of Rashid versus Cancel and it stated the exact same thing ("Owner's remedy, if any, would lie with the prior owner".)

The representative who asked for rent accidentally gave me the "real name" of the owner. Five minutes later, he asked me not to send payments there, but to use the "LLC name" instead-which is always our address followed by the letters LLC.

I was able to take the owner's real name and took a good hour Googling it in quotes with random words mixed in. My last try was with his name and the first name of his representative-this brought up something the other searches hadn't.

Although, the new owner says he didn't purchase the building until April, the LLC came up as having been created in December 2016. Also, in the same month (this December), he bought a 3 resident private home A BLOCK AWAY from our building..! He bought it from someone else who had purchased the home that same year..then it was sold again in the same month from him to, you guessed it, an LLC (that home's address followed by LLC) for $0.

I'm assuming that "sale" was a non-taxable transfer of the home from his real name to the LLC name he had created (for tax purposes?). So, is he just trying to snap up smaller, non-stabilized buildings in this area? He takes out a mortgage each time he buys a dwelling, too.

The only reason I'm profiling this guy at all, is because I know nothing about buying and renting real estate. I've always rented. I'm looking to find out if this is the kind of person who might destroy our property and then ask the DOB to issue a vacate. I guess I was looking to see if he'd ever been involved in any lawsuits, but so far that search has been fruitless. Hope that's a good thing.

Yes, I'm entertaining far-fetched fears again. I don't want to end up (legally) locked out of my home and unable to obtain my belongings. It's one of my worst fears, and I just don't know what owners are capable of these days. I'm looking for the new owner's motivation for insinuating himself into our neighborhood and, especially, our little building.

I'm assuming when he talked about wanting us to vacate to fix the repairs, that he meant he'd try to "encourage" us to do that of our own accord or through court proceedings. Naturally, as RS tenants we would attempt to exert our right to stay put. Now that he knows WE KNOW we're rent stabilized, I would like to believe the idea of trying to move us would occur to him as costly now, and not worth the effort..

Yes, there are still six units, one of which is not being used in a residential manner at this time, but was during our residency here.
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby TenantNet » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:26 pm

Please PM the guy's name and other details. Also please PM the details I asked about above.
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby Cazmia » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:24 pm

The tenant's association is very "jumpy" and I wasn't even sure that I should be talking about our situation on this forum, but I assured them that Tenant Net is partially responsible for how far we've gotten. I will talk to them about if I can PM information that is directly related to our case, but I haven't wanted to give anyone a reason to be more tense than they are. =)

On an update, we received a notice from DHCR asking us to come in for a pre-conference regarding the previous owner's appeal of the DHCR order that granted us stabilization. It's a bit scary for me, because I feel we already spent three years proving our case..and now we are to come in and present all our evidence in person, with any witnesses, ect..

The landlord put in this appeal a year ago, and DHCR did not make their decision within the 90 day period. I had hoped this meant it was said and done. I don't know what this means, because they've already seen all our evidence (that was why they granted us stabilization) and I thought you couldn't submit any new evidence on an appeal.

Maybe it's just part of the process to show they gave his appeal proper consideration? I can't see them taking 3 years to decide we are stabilized and then reversing their decision based on the same facts...?
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:08 pm

DHCR never makes decisions in 90 days. Is this a Petition for Administrative Review? If so, DHCR should not be having fact-finding conferences at that level. That's an appeal based on facts in evidence at the lower level.

If you're going to a DHCR conference, I strongly advise getting a good tenant atty.
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby Cazmia » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:13 pm

Yes, it is a PAR. That's precisely why I don't understand why they're asking us to present our evidence and witnesses and for the owner to present deed and COO.

This was already all presented during the AD. The PAR only presents 2 issues: they tried to argue preclusion (saying a prior overcharge complaint that was dropped 20 years ago, because the tenant never answered with opposition should bar us from arguing stabilization). However, the place was 5 units at her base date and six units at our base date.

The second was a ridiculous argument that the apartment is actually a GARAGE! The prior owner had already tried to convince DHCR during the AD that it was an office, so that is just lies upon lies.

Now, there's a new owner. I know he steps into the old owner's shoes, but neither he or his lawyer filed the PAR. Are they even parties to the case?
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:28 pm

I would send a letter to them stating that the evidence was presented below and - according to your understanding - a PAR cannot consider new evidence.

Again, get a tenant attorney as DHCR will try to ignore the law.

As far as I know, they will let the new owner become a party ... but that should not mean new evidence.
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:22 pm

If you're looking for precedent regarding PARs and new evidence, I'd check out Gilman v. DHCR, and the cases referenced therein. Pretty high bar for new evidence introduction, and I can't see any reason why DHCR should be requesting that the tenants be present. If the LL has new evidence that they want to submit, it's incumbent on the LL to submit that new evidence and show good cause why the evidence couldn't be submitted earlier.

The acceptance of new evidence on appeal is generally contrary to appellate practice simply because it is unfair to allow a party, on appeal, to rewrite the factual record in the proceeding. Consistent with this principle, when conducting a PAR, DHCR is limited to the facts and evidence before the rent administrator as raised in the petition (see 9 NYCRR 2529.6). New facts can be admitted only in narrow circumstances -- where “petitioner submits with the petition certain facts or evidence which he or she establishes could not reasonably have been offered or included in the proceeding prior” (id. [emphasis added]). When the petitioner establishes good cause to consider the new evidence, DHCR may remand the matter for redetermination to allow the rent administrator to consider the new evidence (see id.). This Court also has recognized that similar good cause provisions in the Rent Stabilization Code “permit DHCR to accept late filings for good cause shown at 'any state of a proceeding' -- that is, at any point before the Commissioner has entered a final order” (Dworman v New York State Div. of Hous. and Community Renewal, , 94 NY2d 359, 374-75 [1999]; see also Pledge v New York State Div. of Hous. & Community Renewal, 257 AD2d 391 [1st Dept 1999], affd , 94 NY2d 851 [1999]).

https://www.law.cornell.edu/nyctap/I02_0148.htm
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:36 pm

It's better to cite the Appellate Division, 1st Dept. decision
https://goo.gl/tVqJap
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby Cazmia » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:47 pm

Thank you both, so much. We've been trying to get a hold of our favorite lawyer at Urban Justice; she has represented a number of our tenants in Housing Court and one at a Supreme Court Ejectment action, all of which ended well. She just got back from vacation yesterday and hasn't been available all day today. If we don't get a call back, we'll be persistent and vist her office.
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Re: Construction Surveying, Inc?

Postby TenantNet » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:10 pm

Who is it? You can PM her name to us. The head of UJ is horrible, but there are some good attys there.
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