And You Thought Your Landlord Was Bad? This NYC Slumlord Is Just The Worst Of The Worst
Some landlords will stop at nothing to get rid of their low paying tenants—including taking away their toilets!
New York tenants and landlords have a history of ‘love / hate’ relationships… OK, mostly ‘hate/ hate’, but some landlords make others once thought to be evil titans, seem like little kitty cats. Take Larry Marolda of Marolda Properties, Inc., for example.
He manages and owns 70 buildings in Manhattan and Westchester County, about 1,700 rental units. In 2013, Marolda expanded to Chinatown and acquired 13 more buildings on Elizabeth, Forsyth, Baxter, Rivington and Ludlow streets. Marolda Properties then began aggressively suing some of their long time, rent controlled tenants.
It’s long been known that some landlords use harassment tactics which can include a slew of unsavory measures—all in an attempt to get rid of their low paying tenants. Apparently, Marold Properties were old hands at these dark arts. When they tried them on their new Chinatown investments, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Governor Andrew Cuomo stepped in and filed a lawsuit.
Mr. Schneiderman explained,
“Unfortunately, some landlords believe they can get away with using these tactics to coerce tenants out of their apartments so they can then raise the rent.” Marolda Properties were accused of a shocking litany of tactics for which the term “slumlord” almost seems to genteel.
In the lawsuit, Marolda turned off tenant’s gas- forcing them to cook food on hot-plates and locked them out of their homes subjecting them to unsafe living conditions. Renovations were made without the required permits, and when Marolda Properties actually did apply for legal paper work, they claimed the buildings were vacant. They were not.
In a Marolda Properties owned building on 13-15 Essex Street, toilets were removed from apartments and never replaced, forcing occupants to walk up three flights (many of the residents are elderly and some are handicapped) to use a communal facility.
It gets worse. Tenants were served fake notices accusing them of not living in their primary residence, with an immediate eviction notice to follow. Most of these victims are elderly and do not speak English as their first language, if they speak it at all.
The harassment started in 2013 when the Tenant Protection Unit of the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, along with community group Asian Americans for Equality, started to receive complaints.
The lawsuit is asking for Marolda Properties to cease and desist current harassment, as well as to not implement such practices again. It also demands they remunerate tenants who were impacted by the harassment. And here’s the proof that crime doesn’t pay. Marolda Properties must surrender all profits gained from their illegal practices. Going forward, they must create new business policies all while being monitored by a third-party administrator.
Governor Cuomo stated, “This administration has no tolerance for those who seek to undermine the rights of tenants and use intimidation and harassment to deny them the protections they are entitled to under the law.” Good to know that Governor Cuomo has got our back… as well as our front door.
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