Saga at 143 Ludlow: Converting Apartment Numbers to Erase Rent History

Posted on: November 27th, 2012 at 6:09 am by

143 Ludlow Street is a textbook example of how some landlords try to deregulate buildings for the purposes of luxury conversion. You’ll recall that new owner Samy Mahfar purchased the six-story tenement over the summer and is purportedly amidst such a changeover, resulting in a hellish situation for about eight holdout tenants. Notwithstanding the negligent asbestos cleanup, questionable interior demolition tactics, collapsed ceilings, and suspected DOB shenanigans, there’s also more subtle action at play to help expedite market rents for newly vacated units. Sly would be the appropriate word here, really.

Something so seemingly innocent as changing the apartment numbers, which, we are told, recently transpired inside 143 Ludlow, actually carries overreaching repercussions. By allegedly fudging the address system, the rent history of that particular apartment is essentially erased. Moreover, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“DHCR“) has no way of tracking the shift, so when a new tenant checks said history of their new digs, the updated number is not completely in the system. Market rate then follows.

For instance, say someone moves into #21 – now 6A – which previously carried $500 rent. The maximum increase is the 20% vacancy and then some tiny percentage for each year over 8 years – maybe 5% max. In this scenario, that brings the rent to $625-ish for the next tenant, unless there are improvements. To raise the rent to the $2,500 threshold for destabilization, landlords would need to put enough in it to raise the rent $1,875 legally. If there were improvements while the apartment was vacant, the landlord of a twenty-unit building can apply an additional adjustment of 1/40 the costs.

Therefore, to obtain such a large increase toward deregulation, there would need to be upward of $75,000 in costs (40 x 1875). No such estimate resides with DOB for any renovations at 143 Ludlow. So altering the door number effectively eliminates the issue completely, and a new occupant would have no idea. DHCA records would only go back a year for 6A.

Here is the conversion grid of apartment units by floor at 143 Ludlow. Be sure to check the rent history!

2 = not marked

3 = 2a
4 = 2b
5 = 2c
6 = 2d

7 = 3a
8 = 3b
9 = 3c
10 = 3d

11 = 4a
12 = 4b
13 = 4c
14 = 4d

15 = 5c
16 = 5d
17 = 5a
18 = 5b

19 = 6c
20 = 6d
21 = 6a
22 = 6b

This shady tactic is not exclusive to 143 Ludlow, but the building is simply a microcosm of a larger problem on the Lower East Side as whole. The systematic deregulation of so-called affordable housing.

Have any similar stories? Drop us a line and tell us!

Further reading:

NYC Rent Guidelines Board
DHCA website

Recent Stories

unnamed
Writing ‘Custom Melodies’ with New Yorkers at Chinatown Soup on Orchard Street

You may have heard of artist Grey Gersten and his “Custom Melodies” exhibit  – a successful interactive exercise in writing anonymous biographical songs by New Yorkers, which showcased at the Mmuseumm last year.  Well, now he’s taking those songs digitally, giving the tracks a more accessible and permanent home on the internet. We caught up with the man behind it all […]

kossars-update-1
Kossar’s Bagels & Bialys Reopens Today with New Look and Menu

​Under relatively new ownership, the updated Kossar’s Bialys is now less a warehouse bakery with retail afterthought, and more a proper New York City bagel shop. And it reopens to the public today. The bare-bones factory feel of the predecessor is gone, instead replaced with something cleaner and with vintage aesthetic. Feels like a hybrid […]

hanksy-trump-tagged
Hanksy Hater Tags Trump Dump Mural on Orchard Street

Of all Hanksy’s recent output, his Donald “Dump” Trump piece on Orchard Street certainly struck a chord. Perfect timing, really. After all, it is an election year, and anything Trump is newsworthy. The presidential hopeful and star of The Apprentice is trying to insult his way to the White House. So his head sits on […]

citizenm-scaffolding
CitizenM Hotel on the Bowery Hit with Stop-Work Order for Worksite Safety Issues

While the CitizenM hotel ascends to great heights (i.e. 19 stories) at 185 Bowery, it’s the neighbors who suffer most. Day in and day out, the congestion at the corner of Delancey disrupts not only sidewalk flow and sleep, but motor traffic. Blame constant blockages and deliveries. Well, the lack of oversight we’ve noted at […]

Proposal for 348 Lafayette St.
LPC Rejects Aby Rosen’s Modifications to Former Women’s Shelter at 348 Lafayette

​You may have noticed the orange fencing atop 348 Lafayette Street (aka 11 Bond). That’s an illustrative mockup of the rooftop addition proposed by real estate magnate Aby Rosen in his bid to convert the former 43-bed women’s shelter into a luxury commercial complex. You’ll recall that Rosen purchased the 1913-vintage building last summer for […]

  • Prophet

    Thank you for doing this. Public record.
    I unfortunately pay an inflated market rent but we need those regulated ones to exist.

  • Disgusted

    Isn’t this scheme illegal? shouldn’t this awful landlord be reported? Also, he’s a Board member on the LES BID

  • jaysora

    It will be great when someone is awarded treble damages for overcharges for Apt. 2 (soon to be 1a). Rent will have gone from $350 to $2500 — how? Gold plating a 2 room studio?

  • M Moore

    Postcards will be mailed to all the new tenants in about a year (but no later) explaning what has transpired with the destablized rents with instructions how the new occupant can challenge the charged rent and win. Old tenants leases from the Arwen Equities days? We got em!