Tag Archives: landlord

More tenants come out against Jamaica landlord


| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Fifteen more families in apartment complexes throughout Jamaica have joined the fight against their landlord, who they said constantly harasses them for money.

In December 2011, tenants of 90-36 149th Street filed suit against Zara Realty, which manages the building complex. Among the host of complaints, the tenants alleged unfair and repeated rent increases and a laundry list of basic repairs left disregarded.

Now, Robert McCreanor, director of legal services at the Catholic Migration Office — which represents the tenants — said the agency has asked the court to allow 15 more families from four other buildings managed by Zara Realty to be added to the lawsuit.

According to McCreanor, more tenants reached out to Catholic Migration, saying they are constantly being charged and harassed for bills they don’t owe. McCreanor said the tenants have been taken to court by their landlord, are regularly sent automated calls many times a day and have even been threatened to be reported to the credit bureau.

“This is a big problem,” said Eduardo Barahona, executive director of Centro Hispano Cuzcatlan — an advocacy group working directly with the tenants. “It’s frustrating that we still can’t stop this harassment after so many years.”

Barahona said he has been helping these tenants for close to 10 years, battling the same landlord and the same issues. He said he helps connect the tenants to Catholic Migration due to the fact that the majority of them predominantly speak Spanish.

“I hope there will be some kind of resolution. I hope things will be better,” Barahona said.

Meanwhile, George Subraj, president of Zara Realty, said the accusations are false.

“That’s not true. To harass someone for money, it’s a big, big thing,” he said. “You have to have just and proper cause. They have to actually owe the money. We have to prove that. I can justify that the moneys are indeed owed.”

According to Subraj, rent is due for each tenant at the first of every month. While residents have a five day grace period, he said any late payments after five days warrant “an oral demand” in the form of a telephone call once a month and then a legal, written demand if the first goes unanswered.

However, he said he has never called tenants more than once a month if they owe money, and he denied sending any automated calls.

Subraj did admit to taking several tenants to court due to “chronic non-payments.”

“One tenant was 40 times late with payment, and another was three months late,” he said, adding that some tenants are now under lenient court-ordered repayment plans. “We are really meticulous, and a lot of people don’t like that.”

McCreanor said the motion to add the extra families is pending and a decision would be reached by March 8.

 

Teen’s Alleged Assaulter Pretended To Be A Police Officer


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Teen’s Alleged Assaulter Pretended To Be A Police Officer

Police were searching late Tuesday for a man who allegedly pretended to be a police officer and sexually assaulted a teenage boy he met in a subway station in Sunset Park, Brooklyn last week. Investigators say the man approached a 15-year-old boy at the 53rd Street and Fourth Avenue station around 9:30 a.m. Friday, after the teen threw an empty bag of potato chips on the ground. Authorities said the teen claimed the man displayed what looked like a police shield and told the boy to get into his white van. They say the suspect drove to 92nd Street and Dahlgren Place in Bay Ridge, where he sexually assaulted the boy. Read More: NY1

The mistakes that took 5 lives

Two fatal mistakes may have cost the lives of the three little girls and their grandparents who died Christmas morning when a century-old Victorian mansion went up in flames and turned into a death trap. Fire marshals in Stamford, Connecticut, said the owner’s boyfriend, contractor Michael Borcino, put still-smoldering embers from a yule log into some kind of a bag — and then left it leaning against an outside rear wall of the $1.7 million house. The marshals said the embers had not been doused with water. On the other side of the wall was a mud room. Read More: New York Post

Flushing neighborhood mourns closing of Palace Diner, a local mainstay since 1976

The Palace Diner, a Flushing mainstay that served as a cozy gathering place for local residents and politicians alike, is shutting its doors for good on Friday. “I’ve had a good run, it’s time,” said owner George Mantzikos. “I’ve been fortunate to have good customers and good employees.” The diner, known for its Greek specialties, fresh fish and chops, will be replaced by an “upscale Chinese restaurant,” he said. Read More: Daily News

Ozone Park unites for fallen officer Peter Figoski

In light of the fact that four of the five men nabbed as suspects in the tragic, shooting death of fallen officer Peter Figoski are from Ozone Park, elected officials and residents of the community banded together to raise money and spirits for Figoski’s family. “We wanted to do something in this community to show that those criminals are not a reflection of the people in this neighborhood. There are good, solid people in this community,” said Matt Turner of the Make a Difference Christmas Effort. The Make a Difference Christmas Effort — which hosted a benefit on December 22 at St. Mary Gate of Heaven School — raised $5,000 for the wife and four daughters Figoski leaves behind. Read More: Queens Courier

Rent-stabilized Jamaica tenants sue landlord;  they say he boosted rents to force  them out  

More than 40 longtime Jamaica tenants are suing their landlord for charging them large lump sums for building improvements they claim were never adequately made, in an effort to force them out of their homes. Residents of 90-36 149th Street, which is owned by Zara Realty Holding Corp., said their rent shot up thousands of dollars this year after the state approved a hike for rent-stabilized tenants. It was granted because Zara claimed to have installed a new roof and repaired the building’s brick exterior. But landlords are only allowed to raise rents 6 percent annually for rent-stabilized tenants, according to the tenants’ lawyers — not ask for one bulk payment. Read More: Daily News

Group wants to preserve ‘historic’ Elmhurst library

Over 106 years, some structures become staples of their communities. This is the sentiment one Elmhurst civic association has expressed regarding the neighborhood’s historic library, which is set to be torn down and replaced with a larger, more modern facility. Members of the Newtown Civic Association are puzzled by Queens Library’s decision to destroy the community “landmark,” which opened in 1906 and is one of the last remaining libraries built with funding from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Read More: Queens Courier

Tenants angry over rent, lack of repairs at Jamaica apartment complex


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Tenants in one apartment complex in Jamaica have filed suit against their landlord, alleging unfair and repeated rent increases and a laundry list of basic repairs left disregarded.

“A lot of people are moving out of the building,” said Nelson Lopez, a tenant in the complex located at 90-36 149th Street. “Some people just can’t pay the rent because the landlord keeps raising it.”

Among the host of complaints, tenants say they live with vermin, leaky roofs, mold, rotting cabinets, cracked floors, broken locks and inadequate heat.

According to Eric Bederman, spokesperson for the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), in regards to complaints filed through 3-1-1, “there are no open housing code violations at this property and the agency does not have any pending litigation against the owner for anything at the property.”

However, a large-scale “full roof-to-cellar” inspection of the building has not been conducted, he said.

Bederman also said an HPD housing code inspector did issue a heat and hot water violation for a room in one apartment in the complex in February, but he said the landlord complied and corrected the issue.

“If something is not right, I can guarantee it will be fixed instantly,” said landlord George Subraj, president of Zara Realty which manages the building complex. “I always immediately attempt to fix the problems, but [the tenants] don’t let me into their apartments or give me access to get the repairs done. I always check to make sure we are doing good work.”

Subraj said the accusations of vermin and unsanitary conditions within the complex are false, believing most of the complaints and anger stem from the increase in rent after capital improvements were made throughout the building.

“This is a vendetta. It’s only noise they’re making. All this hoopla is for nothing,” Subraj said. “They just don’t want to pay.”

According to Subraj, the monthly rent went up an additional $61 per room. He said the tenants agreed to comply with rent increases — that stem from building-wide improvements — when they signed their lease.

The improvements completed before 2009 included adding new roofing and vandal-resistant doors, water proofing bricks and fixing elevators, intercom systems and boilers.

Subraj said the rent increases were approved by the state, but the Department of Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) declined to comment on the increase due to privacy laws.

Astoria Man Charged With Killing Stepdaughter, Wounding Estranged Wife


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Astoria Man Charged With Killing Stepdaughter, Wounding Estranged Wife

A Queens man was charged with a Monday shooting in Astoria that left his stepdaughter dead and his estranged wife injured. Police say Guerino Annarumma, 52, is facing charges of murder, assault and criminal possession of a weapon after shooting the mother and daughter in their home on 38th Street near 23rd Avenue just before 9 a.m. Read More: NY1

Postal Service Cuts To Lengthen Delivery Time

As financial problems continue to mount, the U.S. Postal Service announced Monday a series of unprecedented cuts. The estimated $3 billion in reductions will affect first-class mail and likely eliminate the possibility of next-day delivery for the first time in 40 years. Read More: NY1

Councilmember Eric Ulrich tapped for Romney campaign

Councilmember Eric Ulrich has been named chair of Republican and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in New York City. Born and raised in Ozone Park, Ulrich, 26, was first elected to the council when he was 24 and now represents Ozone Park and Howard Beach — serving as Minority Whip of the Republican delegation. Read More: Queens Courier

Blog-of-blood family murder

A seething husband who accused his immigrant wife and her daughter of a green-card scam shot them in Queens yesterday — killing the young woman and critically wounding her mom — hours before the couple’s divorce hearing, law-enforcement sources said.“You are going to pay for whatever you did. I dont [sic] play no games. Good Luck, Bye Bye Bye,” suspect Guerino Annarumma, an Italian émigré, ranted in an Aug. 12 post on his blog about his  tranged. wife Olga Annarumma, 57, and stepdaughter Valeria Kuzima Lowery, 25. Read More: New York Post

Apology from kin of bus ‘killer’

The family of the crazed ex-con accused of a deadly shooting spree aboard a Queens bus apologized yesterday to the loved ones of the victims. “We are truly and deeply sorry to the families,” said a relative of alleged gunman Damel Burton who asked not to be named outside Queens Criminal Court. Burton, 34, is accused of killing his girlfriend’s 18-year-old son, Keith Murrell, then boarding the Q111, where he shot passenger Marvin Gilkes dead and critically wounded another rider, Jojuan Lispey. Read More: New York Post
Queens family of seven evicted in dispute with landlord over ‘dozens’ of violations 

A Queens family of seven is scrambling to find a place to live after their landlord served them with an eviction notice the day before Thanksgiving. Laura and Thomas Cavanagh said began withholding rent on the Broad Channel home after their landlord refused to fix dozens of problems — ranging from black mold under the sink to a rodent infestation in the attic. Read More: Daily News

Queens’ Morning Roundup – 11/09/2011: Queens Landlord Kills Tenant Before Committing Suicide


| jlane@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

No parole again for killer of NYC’s Kitty Genovese

The man who killed Kitty Genovese has been denied parole for the 15th time in a case that became notorious after reports that neighbors in her quiet New York City neighborhood failed to act as they heard the victim’s screams. Read More: Wall Street Journal

 

Queens Landlord Kills Tenant Before Committing Suicide

Neighbors widely knew that the owner of 111-11 143rd Street in South Jamaica, Queens wanted the tenants on the top floor and basement out of his house, due to a long-running dispute over rent. But on Tuesday, it became bloody in an apparent murder-suicide. Police said the home owner, 62-year-old Eulith Reid, chopped his 48-year-old basement tenant Hettie Patterson in the head with a machete, killing her. He then stabbed himself in the neck and also died. They were pronounced dead in Jamaica Hospital. Read More: NY1

 

Aqueduct Racino Pulls In $15M During First Stretch

The new casino at Aqueduct Racetrack is on a big winning streak, but not without some small bumps along the way. Watch the video: NY1

 

Queens group builds housing and new lives for former inmates  

For women leaving prison, one of the greatest challenges is finding a stable place to live. That’s why nonprofit group Hour Children is creating affordable housing in Long Island City for formerly incarcerated women trying to rebuild their lives. Read More: Daily News

 

Long Island City housing complex plagued by shootings

Constant fear caused by frequent shootings has left the residents of Astoria Houses in a frenzy. The housing development, located at 4-20 Astoria Boulevard in Long Island City, has been plagued by gun violence for years, according to the people who call the houses home. Read More: Queens Courier