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

ace-hotel-bowery-2
Ace Hotel Hit with Stop-Work Order for Conversion at 225 Bowery

Let the renovations begin. Onsite work is intensifying at 223-225 Bowery where demolition contractors have been busy carting out debris amidst conversion to an Ace Hotel. This interior gut job of late is also joined by the hoisting of materials via flatbed cranes. As part of the new Ace Hotel project, property owners Omnia Group and […]

Photo courtesy of Enz's
How You Can Help Mariann Marlowe Rebuild Enz’s Rockabilly Store in the Wake of the 2nd Avenue Explosion

We are all still reeling from last Thursday’s gas explosion in the East Village, which destroyed three buildings and devastated the neighborhood. Many favorite businesses are no longer there, and those still standing are trying their best to keep it that way. Enz’s Rockabilly store at 125 Second Avenue is located right next door to […]

finale_wm-2
EMM Aborts Finale on the Bowery, Tao is Taking Over

EMM Group washed its hands of the Bowery last week. But something bigger is on the way. Lower Eastpacking all the way. After three years of public deception, lawsuits, static from the State Liquor Authority, and non-stop quality of life issues for residents and neighbors alike, Finale and its EMM Group overlords are out. Rumors […]

2nd-avenue-medical_wm
Report: 2 Bodies Uncovered in Wreckage of 2nd Avenue Explosion Site [UPDATED]

Rescue workers operating in the Second Avenue explosion site uncovered two bodies in the wreckage this afternoon, according to a report in the New York Times and New York Post. Two people were missing (and feared dead) after a gas-related explosion detonated in the Sushi Park restaurant at 121 Second Avenue – Nicholas Figueroa, 23, and Moises Ismael […]

Photo: FDNY
Here’s How You Can Help Victims of the 2nd Avenue Explosion [UPDATED]

Thursday’s gas explosion on Second Avenue that resulted in the decimation of three East Village tenements is a tragedy that hits home. Fellow New Yorkers are banding together to assist during this crisis period. With a little help from DNAinfo, here’s how you can help those affected by the disaster. Pass it along, and drop us a line to let us know of […]

  • 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!