Real Estate Attorneys are Now Giving Speeches on How to Best Evict Rent Regulated Tenants

Posted on: June 3rd, 2016 at 9:20 am by

The fuckin gall. Nay, chutzpah.

Here’s a real estate attorney – Michelle Itkowitz – who gave a speech this week at TerraCRG’s “Only Brooklyn” summit about how to best evict rent regulated tenants from buildings. The presentation was called “Tenant Buyouts — The Next Generation.” The timing was appropriate, as landlords around the city are under the microscope for harassment. Like Steve Croman, who faces twenty-five years in prison on twenty felony counts, plus a civil lawsuit for tenant harassment.

Itkowitz provided a few basic talking points as guide. For instance, avoid frivolous litigation or using a superintendent as henchman for buyouts. The key, she says, is demolition.

Here are some choice, cringe-worthy excerpts from a dispatch in the Real Deal.

But she quickly got down to the business of eviction, telling landlords the best way to get tenants out of their buildings is to show the state they plan to knock ’em down in the first place.

“Things have changed in three years,” Itkowitz said. “Tenants understand implicitly, even if they live under a rock, that there is value for owners, developers and managers in recovering rent-stabilized apartments. It’s not a secret anymore.”

As such, she had three main points for landlords who have still not figured out how to go about “de-tenanting” in the “next generation.”

“No harassment. No frivolous litigation. No supers,” she said, giving examples of how not to operate in a market with heightened tenant protections.

Now let’s talk about about something that actually moves tenants out of the way if you have to get to that point,” said Itkowitz, transitioning from don’ts to dos. “Demolition eviction, page 23,” she prompted, referencing a pamphlet that accompanied her speech.

A line in the rent-stabilization law allows landlords to deny tenants’ renewals on leases at stabilized apartments if the landlord can show the state they have approved new building plans, the money to complete them, and agree to pay tenants relocation expenses and a stipend.

And the heartening news. Tenants are smartening up, organizing, and fighting back.

Shooing out existing tenants from stabilized and market-rate properties alike has become more difficult with a more organized tenant movement, increased media attention — think the Stuyvesant Town debacle — and stricter regulation on both the city and state levels. Tenants are now too savvy to succumb to the old tricks of the trade and housing codes have been revised, Itkowitz said.

Read the full post, though. It’s mind-blowing.

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