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N.Y. building owners agree to more than $1M in rent credits

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 17, 2014

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement agreement on Tuesday with two owners of 42 rent-regulated buildings to resolve allegations of failing to comply with housing maintenance laws.

The owners of the buildings, which are operated under a real estate portfolio called the Three Borough Pool, and the properties' building management company, Colonial Management, also allegedly engaged in an aggressive campaign to deny tenants their legal right to organize.

The tenants began to organize in response to news that the buildings' owners were facing potential foreclosure. Colonial Management allegedly failed to provide information to tenants regarding the possible foreclosure, posted false and misleading notices stating that the buildings were not in foreclosure, blocked housing advocates and tenants from attending tenant association meetings and retaliated against tenants who participated in the meetings.

"Over one million families live in rent-regulated housing in New York City," Schneiderman said. "They have a right to decent and safe housing, and a right to organize without being harassed. Today's agreement with the owners will bring significant relief to thousands of tenants who have suffered and puts other owners on notice that my office will not tolerate harassment of tenants."

Under the terms of the settlement, the building owners agreed to provide more than $1 million in rent credits to tenants living in close to 1,700 apartments, complete delayed maintenance projects within a year and immediately terminate Colonial Management. The owners must also provide all tenants with notice of their right to organize and participate in tenant associations.

Schneiderman's office will receive periodic reports of the owners' compliance with the settlement.

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