Mahfar Tenants Get 205K Settlement
Landlord promises safer construction, no harassment
Landlord Samy Mahfar of SMA Equities is reimbursing the tenants at 22 Spring St., 102 Norfolk St., 210 Rivington St. and 113 Stanton St. for the disruption caused by months of reduced services, construction debris in public spaces, and dangerously high levels of lead dust. Mahfar agreed to follow all city regulations, safe building practices and EPA guidelines for work involving lead-based paint. The landlord also agreed to refrain from harassing tenants and to send buyout offers only in writing.
Working with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, CDP filed a lawsuit in April 2015 on behalf of the Mahfar tenants, alleging construction that generated illegally high levels of toxic lead dust (more than 2,000 times the legal limit at one of the buildings); repeated cutoffs of gas, electricity, heat and hot water; refusal to issue rent stabilized renewal leases; and harassing visits and calls from “tenant relocators” hired by Mahfar to convince tenants to move out of their rent-stabilized apartments.
Brooklyn Tenants Avoid Demolition
After years of fighting to remain in their homes, rent-stabilized tenants in a Brooklyn walk-up can breathe more easily after the denial of their landlord’s application to evict them in order to demolish their building.
Working with organizers at Fifth Avenue Committee and Neighbors Helping Neighbors, CDP has been representing tenants at 78 St. Marks Place since 2013 to oppose their landlord’s plans to demolish the building. The New York Times reported in 2014 that landlord Harry Einhorn officially applied to build a commercial building in place of the existing residential building but admitted to the Times that he actually planned to build a massive luxury condominium tower.
Last month, the New York Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) issued a decision denying the application, citing major flaws in the landlord’s applications for Department of Buildings approval, design flaws with the proposed structures, and the landlord’s failure to meet the “good faith” standard of carrying out the proposed plan.