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

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 12.49.20 PM
Classic Album Art Comes to Life in Roy Kafri’s New Beatbox Video

Iconic vinyl art has taken a turn for the outlandish with Israeli comedy singer Roy Kafri’s latest music video. He not only features classic album covers brought to life, but ones that are, in fact, beatboxing on the street. Bowie beatboxing. Lou Reed beatboxing. If that’s not enough to mess with your mind, it’s filmed in reverse; by the end, we […]

marilyn-louie-closed
Marilyn Louie Temporarily Closes Tiny Bowery Newsstand Due to Flooding

Unfortunately for Marilyn Louie, when it rains, it poors. Literally. This time the weather proved itself an enemy, with downpours sidelining the business. Damn. The embattled newsstand owner – on the Bowery for thirty-eight years – seriously can’t catch a break. Heavy rainfall last week and its resultant flooding reportedly forced [Chinese language] the longtime newsstand […]

hanksy-eazyebola
Hanksy Gets All NWA with ‘Eazy-E Bola’

Street artist Hanksy is tapping right into global fear of an Ebola outbreak. His latest piece is self-proclaimed, “straight outta Congo.” The sticker sized placement is in eastern Chinatown and features the one and only Eazy-E Bola and his virus strain neck. Meanwhile, Hanksy continues to explore street art around the country with his new “Surplus […]

agent-provocateur-elizabeth
Agent Provocateur is Opening a Third Manhattan Location on Elizabeth Street

Haute lifestyle boutique Condor is no longer part of the gold-coast landscape of Little Italy. The business closed its three-year-old shop at 259 Elizabeth Street at the end of August, but has been running a pop-up locale down on Kenmare Street in the interim. Now it’s again without a home. Condor flew the coop thanks […]

bartendr-blackbox
Bartrendr App at It Again with ‘NYC’s Only Bar for On-Duty Pilots’ Stunt

That fake bar for pregnant women isn’t the only controversial PR stunt Bartrendr has up its collective sleeve. The bar-finding mobile app is at it again with another faux-pax advert on Spring Street. The commercial unit at 59 Spring is currently masquerading as Black Box, “NYC’s only bar for on duty pilots.” Don’t be fooled, […]

  • 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!