NYC Tenants Protest Credit Suisse's Support of Abusive Landlord
"Inquilinos Unidos ... Jamás Será Vencidos!"
Tenants from Queens and
Vantage has gone on a buying spree throughout
But landlords can't just kick out rent-stabilized
tenants--there are laws that prevent that.
So Vantage has come up with a new strategy to "recapture" high numbers
of rent-stabilized apartments in western Queens and
Update: Read more about this story at the Daily News. (I'm also told it was in El Diario, but I can't seem to find it. If anyone else does, please let me know in comments.)
Vantage has been doing things like refusing to accept rent checks because a tenant's spouse's name was included on the check, then initiating non-payment proceedings in housing court against the tenant. Vantage will claim that a tenant has 20 people living in his apartment. Or that a tenant actually lives somewhere else most of the year. All these allegations being completely baseless. The tenant then ends up missing work to go to housing court to try to resolve the situation, often pro se (without legal counsel), losing sleep out of worry that this huge company will evict the tenant and his or her family. The judge quickly sees there is no merit to the case and dismisses it.
Then the same tenant will get sued again. And again. Each time the lawsuit gets thrown out of court. But each time, the tenant is a little more inclined to pick up and move somewhere else. It would just be easier ... Many have probably done so already.
Vantage has decided that harassing low-income tenants--often Spanish-speaking, often first or second-generation immigrants--out of their homes is the way to boost returns to its financiers during a down market.
There's just one problem with this plan: they didn't expect the tenants to fight back.
The Catholic Migration Office's Immigrant Tenant Advocacy
Project (ITAP), Queens Legal Services Corporation, and The Legal Aid Society
filed a lawsuit last week in
A few hundred of the tenants mobilized for a rally and protest this past Saturday against Vantage and its backer, Credit Suisse. State Senator John Sabini and City Council Member Eric Gioia also came to lend their support.
"Let's defend our rights."
"It's raining evictions!"
At the end of the protest, one outspoken tenant who had experienced harassment by Vantage delivered a symbolic eviction notice to Credit Suisse. He pushed it through the 20 foot high ornate brass gates that the Credit Suisse building's security had erected to keep out the plebs (Not that the plebs were trying to get in ... and the gates were kind of bizarre ... "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!") Sadly, my camera battery died before I could capture the gates or the eviction notice.This protest and lawsuit show that
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Gretchen Morgenson at the NY Times has a story today about the strategic harassment of tenants—many of them migrants—by big real estate companies in New York City. I posted about this last month here. As Morgenson explains, it’s part... Read More