Live in 245 Sullivan Place, near Nostrand? You win. I mean you lose.
  • Using HPD and DOB data, this article has declared that 245 Sullivan Place (between Nostrand and Rogers in Crown Heights) gets the title for the worst maintained building in NYC:

    http://thebrooklynink.com/2013/02/04/51227-tenants-struggle-living-in-the-citys-worst-building/


  • Umm, wow! Doesn't housing court prorate the rent in situations like this? And after six years she is unable to find another place? Really?


  • Newguy-

    Based on being awarded "the worst building in NYC", I believe it is safe to assume that all of the apartments are similarly maintained, and occupied by people who have the same limited options (or, if you prefer, "skill sets").

    HPD and DOB have to follow a very long arduous process before they can actually take ownership of such buildings, a process they are hesitant to do because few landlords are willing to buy such buildings from the city once they auction them.

    ...they are disasters in terms of physical condition, and income vs investment.

    Given the two choices, the city would rather continue to poorly repair the building than actually take it over and have this mess under its name.

    Cynics like me believe in the "short term" such buildings are mostly just put on a list of Worst Buildings and Landlords.


  • newguy88 said:

    Umm, wow! Doesn't housing court prorate the rent in situations like this? And after six years she is unable to find another place? Really?


    Its a family of four living in what is at least a two bedroom apartment paying $800 per month. Where is she going to go? Even if she picks up and moves to the far corners of East NY, Brownsville, etc, she's definitely looking at anywhere from a 50-100% increase in rent.


  • Moving itself is also not cheap.

    You have to have money and labor for the truck, the ability to put down a new deposit before you get your existing deposit back....

    You have to overcome the resistence of the kids, whom want to stay in their current school...


  • Good news is that the owner will probably be dead soon. Hopefully a less-horrible person takes over.


  • It is tempting to jump to the conclusion that the 94 year old landlord is not just a horrible landlord, but also horrible person.

    ...but I think we need to put some thought into the state of this building first:

    1. It is inhabited by tenants who are barely able to pay a very low rent. They can not be evicted due to rent stabilization laws. Lawyers wait to pounce on landlords who try to force them out, because the legal fees and penalties are real.

    2. It is in a state of disrepair. The building sounds as if it has its original electrical, plumbing and heating infrastructure.

    When these are combined, the building has a very low value to potential investors. Even if a sale is made, the first step of the new buyer is often to give the tenants "voluntary" payouts to leave.

    ...these payouts allow the new buyer to empty the building. The building is then either sold to another entity and renovated, or simply renovated.

    Afterword, "New tenants" fill the "new building". As Homeowner hints, the "old tenants" go to very low income neighborhoods, and their payouts don't last very long.

    Less horrible?

    One thing is certain: Regardless of what type of landlord you are, you do not want to invest money in a building occupied by people who will never allow you to recoup your investment.

    Other things are less certain: What did the landlord do with his revenue from this building for decades? Why didn't he invest any of the revenue in repairs and maintenance, so he could constantly improve his tenant base as he improved his building?

    P.S. Anyone actually believe the landlord is getting rich in this present scenario?


  • Also, keep in mind that the business model for these types of buildings have changed significantly. I bet at one point there was a live-in super who was responsible for daily maintenance and upkeep and making all but the most significant repairs himself. The super did everything including, in many cases, collecting rent on behalf of the landlord.

    These types of building started to switch over to management companies that didn't have daily on-site staff, but one or two people that covered a portfolio of properties. The staff showed up for things like replacing light bulbs, cleaning common areas, trash removal, etc. Management is no longer on site 24/7 and shows up only a couple of hours a week for specific tasks.

    With an elderly, absentee landlord, no daily staff on-site, and an older building that needs TLC, it's pretty much a recipe for disaster.


  • Once you have the above recipe, the tenants add ingredients of thier own.

    Basically, it becomes clear to them that the landlord does not give a Flying F about them or the building, and the city does not either, so many (but not all...) of them conclude that they should not give a Flying F about it or each other either:

    -They leave trash in the hallway and the courtyard, which attracts rats.

    -They don't go to the hardware store to preform even the simplest repair on their own

    After concluding they signed a lease with the worst landlord in Brooklyn, they try to break the lease, but can't. They then sublet the apartment to someone really desperate: Like the not-very-close relative who has a cocaine addiction, and is about to be kicked out of their mother's apartment or released from jail.


  • maybe MySpace should buy the building and fix it up???????


  • I'm not sure the immediate area the building is located in is attractive enough to attract a company that specializes in flipping.

    When you flip a rental property, there needs to be a pretty substansial difference between the amount the current tenants pay, and the amount the future tenants will pay.

    This difference covers:

    - the payouts to rent stabilized tenants

    - the renovations

    - the revenue lost during the renovations, and

    - the cost of finding the better off future tenants.

    The article states the building presently has 20 of its 40 units vacant.

    This leads me to believe there is no bank mortgage on the property, and that it will eventually be taken over by HPD, and then auctioned with the residents intact.

    Another option is that the building may be auctioned after the owner's death. In order to maximize the value of the estate, the executor will vacate the residents prior to disposing of it.


  • I'm not sure the immediate area the building is located in is attractive enough to attract a company that specializes in flipping.

    The Plex is at the end of the block. The Sterling Street station on the 2 line is nearby. The Associated at the end of the street on Nostrand seems like a halfway deecent supermarket (as opposed to Western Beef).

    The Plex of course is new construction with amenities that can't be easily be added to the exisiting structure, if at all. This building is attached to a few other buildings that is of similar construction. It's also adjacent to a small city-owned playground.

    Maybe whoever started the recent Ebbets Field thread should be petitioning for Medgar Evers to take over this building for dorms instead. :wink:


  • While it isn't perfect, Medgar Evers has done nothing wrong to the degree that it should be punished with this building.

    It is pure speculation, but I predict the city may have to take over this building, do a lot of repair$, and then sell the the building with the explicit benefit of it having been "magically" awarded Project Based Section 8 Vouchers for the next 10 years.

    These vouchers would ensure its ongoing viability, and

    thus ensure that prospective bidders see the property as worthwhile. This would no only allow the city to quickly recoup its investment, but allow everyone to say the building continues to serve very poor people.

    ....no one wants to be accused of engaging in "Urban Renewal".


  • I think Pratt Area Community Council is one of the strongest organizations we have locally.

    I suspect PRACC (or another, similar entity) could be induced by DOB and HPD to take over this building in the way that Banana Kelly took over this one:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/11/nyregion/banana-kelly-group-takes-over-dilapidated-bronx-buildings.html?_r=0


  • The landlord is old and in ill health. The tenants will eventually be relocated and higher income tenants will come in. I'm sure an investor will come along and scoop up this distressed property


  • Given the amount of money they have put into the property, the city may end up owning it when the landlord dies.

    They will then vacate it, and hopefully someone will renovate it and get it back on the market.

    ...but I agree, the present tenants are going to get kicked out unless a non-profit is induced to take it over.


  • I walked by this building the other day. It doesn't look terrible from the outside, but if you look closely, you can see a few apartments that appear to be boarded up.


  • Yes, the article said about half of the apartments were vacant.

    I do wonder whether apartments are being boarded up as they become vacant, or whether the ones boarded up are in EVEN WORSE shape.

    ...Sadly, I don't think the DOB is able to prohibit a landlord from renting new apartments until existing code violations IN THE BUILDING are fixed. Such a freeze on new renters would be very effective, but also very difficult for DOB to enforce.

    I do believe that they are able to condemn certain apartments, while leaving others available.

    There is a distinction between these two "abilities".


  • While I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on such topics, it should come as no surprise that some people do this work for a living.

    Curbed put out a pretty good guide to finding them today:

    http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/03/19/how_to_find_a_tenants_rights_lawyer.php#more


  • Wish Brooklyn Ink had the reportorial drive to present more about the new management company that asks for the check to be sent to the same address as before. Can't help but be curious about that aspect of this awful situation.

    I walked down this pleasant-seeming block the other day--coming from the halfway-decent Associated —and could see people with money attracted to the streetscape - lots of family homes, Dodger Playground.

    --

    The Plex is at the end of the block. The Sterling Street station on the 2 line is nearby. The Associated at the end of the street on Nostrand seems like a halfway deecent supermarket (as opposed to Western Beef).

    The Plex of course is new construction with amenities that can't be easily be added to the exisiting structure, if at all. This building is attached to a few other buildings that is of similar construction. It's also adjacent to a small city-owned playground.

    Maybe whoever started the recent Ebbets Field thread should be petitioning for Medgar Evers to take over this building for dorms instead. :wink:


  • Here is an instance in which the DOB felt the conditions were so bad that they involved the court system:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/28/nyregion/queens-landlord-accused-of-endangering-tenants.html?ref=nyregion

    I'm not the fire department, but this situation in Queens does seem to be at a much more urgent level than the one we have been discussing in Brooklyn.


  • Here's a "pro-tenant" blog that discusses the limited amount of power held by DOB, and hints at some of the complexities involved:

    http://thesurrealestate.org/tag/alex-varveris/


  • I do wish someone could tell us why advocates for the tenants (or HPD) has not initiated 7A proceedings to get an administrator appointed.

    http://www.nycourts.gov/courts/nyc/housing/pdfs/tenantsguide.pdf


  • This article discusses how much money agencies such as HPD have spent making emergency repairs to privately owned, decrepit buildings:

    http://www.ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/printnycbtn14.pdf

    I wonder if HPD (etc) have fully spent the money that have available to them, and now are forced to "look the other way" in all but the absolute worst situations...


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