Icon Realty Management Settles with Attorney General in Tenant Harassment Probe

Posted on: September 28th, 2017 at 5:00 am by

47 Clinton Street, August 2016

Icon must pay up.

Last month, news broke that the joint city-state Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force was probing Icon Realty Management for alleged tenant harassment at many of its rent regulated buildings. The investigation involved the New York Attorney General’s office, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the city Department of Buildings, and the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

Then yesterday came word, via The Real Deal, that Icon reached a settelment with the task force. The purported terms of the deal require the company to cease harassment tactics at its buildings and resolve hazardous living conditions. Icon is also forced to pay a $300,000 fine to the State of New York, and an additional $200,000 to HPD and DOB. Affected tenants’ rents will continue to receive abatements for service outages.

According to the report, investigators concluded that Icon failed to obtain DOB permits and/or provided false information on such permits at many of its properties. Tenants were subsequently left living in unsafe environments. Investigators also found that requests for apartment repairs – residents were subjected to interruptions of heat, hot water, and cooking gas – often went unanswered.

Ceiling collapse in a bathroom at Icon’s 445 E. 9th St, March 2016

Icon Realty Management is notorious around the East Village and Lower East Side for its alleged “construction as harassment” techniques. Tenants often accuse the firm of aggressive attempts to clear out the rent stabilized properties in favor of luxury rents. It’s had an effect on commercial, too. Neighborhood stalwarts such as the Stage Restaurant and Allied Hardware on Second Avenue were some of Icon’s more high-profile victims.

“Too often, bad landlords see rent-regulated apartments as a gold mine,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement Wednesday, “looking to make a quick buck by using construction to harass tenants out of their homes.”

As part of the settlement, though, Icon is apparently not required to admit wrongdoing.

Some might conclude that the settlement is a slap on the wrist, though. Does the punishment fit the bill?

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