Predatory Landlord Wants Rent-Stabilized Lease

Predatory Landlord Wants Rent-Stabilized Lease

September 2017

Raphael Toledano, who has spent more than $300 million in the last three years buying up Lower Manhattan buildings and trying to drive the tenants out, is now trying to keep an Upper West Side apartment by claiming he’s a rent-stabilized tenant.

Toledano’s landlord filed a holdover proceeding against him in Housing Court June 1, after the three-month lease on the apartment he’d been renting for $13,800 a month at 393 West End Ave. ran out. According to court papers obtained by The Real Deal, Toledano challenged the eviction attempt in a countersuit that claims the previous landlord failed to document the renovations done to bring the apartment over the vacancy-decontrol threshold, and that his lease says the building is supposed be rent-stabilized because it’s getting a 421-a tax abatement. He’s demanding that his rent be reduced to less than $2,800, and that the landlord pay him more than $300,000 in rent overcharges, damages, and legal fees.

“This has got to be a joke, right?” Cooper Square Committee tenant organizer SaMi Chester told The Real Deal. “Here’s a guy who’s built his career on screwing over rent-stabilized tenants. Now he’s doing that?”

Rent-stabilized tenants in Toledano’s East Village buildings say he harassed them with trumped-up eviction attempts, demolished and renovated vacant apartments in a way that filled the air with dangerously high levels of lead dust, and turned off heat and hot water—and sent them fruit baskets when they complained.