Tenants Charge Dermot Company With Harassment

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Although the Dermot Company is largely responsible for rehabilitating one of Brooklyn’s most iconic structures, hundreds of Fort Greene and Clinton Hill residents claim the firm is a big bully and a bad landlord. Last night the Pratt Area Community Council (PACC) held a meeting for tenants of Dermot buildings who say the One Hanson developer is harassing them in an a concerted effort to get them out of their rent-stabilized apartments.

dermot-mtg-02-2008.JPGOver the past year or so Dermot has purchased a number of rent-stabilized apartment buildings in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill, including 25 and 99 Lafayette Avenue, 266 Washington Avenue, 260 and 262 St. James Place (above), and 311 Lincoln Place. According to tenants who spoke at the meeting last night, Dermot has been slacking off on building repairs, offering tenants buyouts for their apartments, taking renters to court in order to try to boot them from their homes, and generally ignoring residents’ complaints. This is our home, and we’re not going anywhere, said a tenant who’s lived at 266 Washington Avenue for 41 years. PACC executive director Deb Howard called what was happening to tenants the new face of displacement, by a private equity company. Several politicians—Council Member Letitia James, Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries, and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery—also spoke in support of Dermot’s tenants. This is a very scary issue, said Montgomery. We are not about to lie down quietly and let this happen. Dermot released a statement in response to the tenant charges saying the firm has already spent more than $1.5 million in repairing the buildings (many of which had significant housing code violations when Dermot acquired them) and that the harassment charges are bogus. Dermot has only taken legal action against tenants that have failed to pay rent for at least two months or with evidence that the tenant of record does not live in the apartment, said the statement.
BAM! Dermot Strikes Again [Brownstoner]
Dermot Plans High-Rise Rental Near BAM [Brownstoner]
266 Washington Goes for $20 Million [Brownstoner]

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  • I say kick the bums out, who do these freeloaders think they are, owners of Property? Don’t they know they’re living in the Free States of Ammurica?

    There. I said it before all the others chime in.

  • I’d bet there is truth to both sides of this story.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Dermot is practicing the age-old tactic of stalling repairs in hopes that people will get frustrated and leave.

    On the other hand, I’m sure that the loudest complainers are people behind on rent or who sublease their apartments.

    What’s wrong with offering a tenant a buyout? Those wishing to remain need only to decline.

    The comment by the tenant of 41 years shows just how much things have changed in NYC since she signed her first lease.

  • With the St. James Place property, they immediately started exterior repairs after it was purchased, new exterior lights, cleaning up the fire escapes (rust removal, repainting), repainting the cornices.

    I would tend to think that they are coming in and running it like a legit business, removing violations, ensuring people pay rent on time, ensuring tenants of record in the rent controlled units are the actual residents etc.

    I’m sure there’s two sides to the story, but I’d tend to believe the new landlords who are visibly improving the buildings that they are trying to run them properly, as opposed to how they have been run in the past.

  • Glad to see that Letitia James was there, but I’m concerned that she only shows up to events that are well attended/covered.

    I know that many residents near the Eastern Parkway/Washington Ave intersection had tried to set up a meeting with her for this week to discuss ways to make the corner less dangerous for pedestrians, but that her office canceled at the last minute because they were worried about a “low turnout.”

    To be fair to the Councilwomen, I’m only hearing about this second or third hand, but if it is the case, I would encourage her to hold the meeting whether sources like Brownstoner cover it or not….

  • 9:43, your comment sounds accurate to me. I’ve found that Tish only cares about “overdevelopment” and seems to have little, if any, time for day-to-day issues like crime.

  • “With the St. James Place property, they immediately started exterior repairs after it was purchased, new exterior lights, cleaning up the fire escapes (rust removal, repainting), repainting the cornices.”

    There’s another reason these repairs are done. They’re called Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) and allow the landlord to raise the rents to cover the repairs. It’s not just because they want to keep up the building.

  • My experience is that Letitia James has been involved with many different things, many with low turnout. She’s great!

  • 10:03 = Aide to Letitia James

  • 9.56 a.m. – I’m fine with that as well – there’s a logic to being able to raise rents if major capital improvements are made. Sorry, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  • 9:56. You can only raise the rents if you do improvements inside the apartments. Exterior fixes that rectify violations do not affect the rents of the tennants in the building.

  • 9:47 describes Tish perfectly.

  • Guess what?! When these Asshats purchased this building they did it with a rent roll of 11x plus. For you Dumbasses who don’t understand, usually investors get Multiple Families at 6x to 8x rent roll. They paid 4.1 million for both building (What The Fuck!). They plan was to get rid of long time tenets. I think this shit is going to back -fire on these fucks. I hope they lose their asses.

    I know some of you will cheer this thing on. But in a bad economy these investments turn bad.

    The What (The end is near)

    Someday this war is gonna end….

  • I wish my LL would offer me a buyout; $1255 for 1800sf on the uws of manhattan

  • Actually 10.45, you are the BIG LOSER in the equation. How long have you been in your apartment? Since the 1970′s?

    You could have bought an 1,800-square-foot apartment on the UWS in the 70′s for what? $75,000?. Today it would be worth what? $1,800,000?

  • While I am a firm defender of tenant’s rights, I also tend to think there is truth on both sides, as per 9:20′s statement.

    I have no problem with a landlord evicting tenants who don’t pay rent, especially when there is no good reason for not paying, such as catastrophic illness. Having been there, it still amazes me how people can look you in the face and get all indignant and loud when you tell them they have to go, after they are 4 months in arrears, and are doing nothing about it.

    On the other hand, denying services and repairs to force rent stabilized people out is wrong.

    I beg to differ on Tish James’ involvement in everyday issues. I think she has a fine record of standing for her constituents, those who are usually voiceless, as well as those who have much, much more. It’s a juggling act that she manages well, and crime and housing are the largest parts of her platform. No, I am not on her staff, I just think she is very good at what she does.

  • well, i hope James’ supporters are accurate and that the meeting will be rescheduled (as of right now, it has been “postponed indefinately”) because the Washington/Eastern Parkway intersection is a disaster waiting to happen (in fact, many small “disasters” do happen there routinely). And it’s particuarly bad on First Saturdays……

    I hope it doens’t take a tragedy to get a meeting….

  • Hey tWhat, how do you know how much the rent roll is? And are your 6x-8x numbers based on rent-stabilized units or free market?

    Given your insane rants, it is hard to take anything you say with any level of seriousness.

  • does the What have a job? does his employer know that he spends all day on brownstoner? or is he one of those guys at a Starbucks tapping away?

  • “Hey tWhat, how do you know how much the rent roll is? And are your 6x-8x numbers based on rent-stabilized units or free market?

    Given your insane rants, it is hard to take anything you say with any level of seriousness.”

    When the that building was for sale, All the Brokers in the area had the rent roll and expenses from the owner ASSFUCK!!!!!!! Thats how I know! When it sold for that price we was amazed. Plus everybody knew this was going to happen.

    BTW the was 4 RENT CONTROLLED apartments in those buildings.

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…

    The sale price was 2 million per building.

  • MontroseMorris are you suggesting having a catastrophic illness makes it ok to stiff your landlord? If you can’t afford insurance and rent, move someplace cheaper. Your landlord is not a welfare agency.

  • 11X RR is not excessive in the area these buildings are in, where the stab rents are so low and the buildings need extensive MCIs. A well capitalized company like Dermont can see significant upside by investing (millions) in building-wide improvements as well as rehabs on vacated apartments.
    The reality is that they can make a very nice return without displacing anyone and given how expensive court is – I am sure they arent running to evict anyone who actually is paying their rent. The issue in these situations is generally that the old LL probably wasnt very aggressive about making people pay and plus the MCIs will result in large rent increases – both of which old time tenants resent.

    The reality is however that the tenants can live in substandard housing, with tons of problems and saftey issues or they can have a responsible LL who improves the building but who (rightly) expects people to pay their rent and the GRADUAL increases that the law allows to balance the need for return-on-investment with the need to keep communities intact.

    As was said earlier – you can’t have everything – and yelling and screaming about it won’t change it.

  • :11X RR is not excessive in the area these buildings are in”

    Oh really, If that figure is chewing up your profit it is excessive.

    “A well capitalized company like Dermont can see significant upside by investing (millions) in building-wide improvements as well as rehabs on vacated apartments.”

    Basic MCI increases are 1/40 of improvements. I willing to bet there are serious DHCR violations in those buildings. Plus, how do you know they are “well capitalized “. These and (Other Fucks) borrowed money at cheep rates and now trying to fuck over anyone to get ROI.

    ” I am sure they arent running to evict anyone who actually is paying their rent. ”

    Oh no??!!! They are trying to empty out the whole fucking building to do so. You know the 8 family over the Laundromat on Fulton St. The owner have kept that building in disrepair for years. There are some people who live in that building and their lifes are a hellhole because of greedy fucking people!

    “As was said earlier – you can’t have everything – and yelling and screaming about it won’t change it.”

    No but when not if the economy flatlines, I hope the people take up pitchforks and torches to these assholes. Take a good look, we are in fuckedland.

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end….

    “does the What have a job? does his employer know that he spends all day on brownstoner? or is he one of those guys at a Starbucks tapping away?”

    Nope, I have your girlfriend gulping sperm juice in the crackhouse!
    I know you love to kiss her.

  • The What may have a job, but he obviously never had a decent education.

    The What, your 12:44 post contains one of your classic grammatical errors: “We was amazed…” The correct phrasing is “We WERE amazed…”

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. You must be a product of NYC public schools.

  • Thank you 1:19. A very sane post

    Hey tWhat, get back on your meds and stop watching porn. It is effecting your ability to interact with the outside world in a sane and rational manner.

  • “The What may have a job, but he obviously never had a decent education.

    The What, your 12:44 post contains one of your classic grammatical errors: “We was amazed…” The correct phrasing is “We WERE amazed…”

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. You must be a product of NYC public schools.”

    Yes PS 56 asshole the same school you send your kids to. But I have a PHD STREET ED. Guess what asshole I will be here and you will be gone.

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end….

  • The What – as with all extremists your rhetoric drowns out any salient points that you have.

    Yes the economy is up shits creek

    Yes rampant speculation and ridiculous lending practices helped get us here

    Yes NYC/Brooklyn is not immune to the effects of all this

    No there is no relevance between an 8 family in disrepair on Fulton and this building – and there is no “they”

    No LL who operate within the law and end up raising rents are not greedy “fuckers”, they are honest people doing EXACTLY what the (pro-tenant) Rent stabilization laws were designed to do – provide good housing at reasonable costs along with reasonable return on investment.

    But you are right – I have no idea about the capitalization of Dermont

    No the world is not coming to an end

  • “The What – as with all extremists your rhetoric drowns out any salient points that you have.”

    You miss the point, I tried to be nice. That didn’t work so I’m on some high octane shit. The point that have been made will come true.

    “No the world is not coming to an end”

    But the world as we know it will.

    The What

    Someday this war is gonna end…..

  • “You know the 8 family over the Laundromat on Fulton St. The owner have kept that building in disrepair for years. There are some people who live in that building and their lifes are a hellhole because of greedy fucking people!”

    You know, the “8 family” could just move to another building. I mean, why stay in a place where the landlord doesn’t make repairs?

  • “Yes PS 56 asshole the same school you send your kids to. But I have a PHD STREET ED. Guess what asshole I will be here and you will be gone.”

    Good grief, The What, I haven’t given you a grammar lesson in a long time, but it pains me to see a grown man make errors that would shame most fourth graders. Hence, I submit a correction:

    “Yes, [comma] PS 56, [comma] asshole, [comma] the same school to which you send your kids [note the placement of the word "to"]. Still, [word substitution, plus comma] I have a PhD [note the mix of upper and lower case letters] in [word addition] STREET ED. Guess what, [comma] asshole? [question mark] I will be here and you will be gone.”

    See? That’s not so bad, is it? Even graduates of PS 56 can learn to write properly. Now, please, study harder so that I don’t have to waste so much time correcting your execrable [consult a dictionary] writing.

    For the record, I have no children, and, for the sake of humanity, I hope you don’t, either.

  • Excuse me, 1:14, but that was not the intent of my post. If I had a tenant who had a catastrophic illness, I might cut them some slack if they fell behind. I did not say that let them off the hook. We’d have to work something out. It was rhetorical, anyway. My landlord and I are in complete agreement here, as that is me.

    But don’t even attempt to imply that someone’s lack of health insurance means anything here, in terms of affording an apartment, because there are plenty of people gainfully employed who don’t have any, or have minimal insurance that is not going to cut a check to the landlord while you are laying up sick. None of the health insurance policies I had at any job I ever had offered that provision. Isn’t that what AFLAC does, which is a separate policy?

  • To Montrose Morris…re “I beg to differ on Tish James’ involvement in everyday issues. I think she has a fine record of standing for her constituents, those who are usually voiceless, as well as those who have much, much more.”
    I hate to say it, and in light of the negtive turn this blog has taken, but you need to do your homework on Tish James’ record. As a former tenant (296 Lafayette Avenue) of this ineffective city councilwoman, the scary truth is that she did the same thing to us as tenants. We paid her exhorbitant rent on time, each and every month, whilst she neglected every single needed repair on her run down brownstone (I have the pictures to prove, puddles of water and all!) then kicked us out for reasons still unknown to us. What is scary is the hypocrisy she displays, but I should not be surprised, she is a true politician – pretending to care for the little man, showing up at rallies, yet ineffective in every single way with her post.
    Camille Hyatt

  • PACC and Dermott are both slum landlords fighting over turf. PACC has the fascade of being a community development agency. Check it out. I live in 277 Gates which won an award from Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce last year. Unfortunately they did not check inside, which would have been easy because our front hasn’t securely locked for 3 years, all 35 units have peeling paint, we did not have heat for 2 years, and they are harassing one of the 1st residents, at 70 years, vision impaired in damaged apartment that they never seem able to repair.

    TO THE TENANTS DO SOME SERIOUS HOMEWORK BEFORE YOU MAKE PACC YOUR LANDLORD. DON’T JUMP FROM THE SKILLET TO THE FIRE.