Well, here’s a difference of opinion.
On the one hand, a large metro apartment management company/landlord contends that a settlement recently reached with the New York Attorney General’s Office was essentially coerced and is meritless.
A spokesperson for Icon Realty Management states that the claims of tenant harassment and displacement from rent-regulated units are “political hype.” He calls them “completely overblown and misleading,” and says the company might take post-settlement legal action.
On the other hand, broad-based critics of Icon respond that there is no question that the landlord committed multiple unlawful actions aimed at ousting tenants from their rent-regulated apartments, subsequently hoping to jack them up to market rates.
In doing so, says one state legislator, the company engaged in a “reign of terror.”
Notwithstanding its denials of wrongdoing, Icon agreed to pay state and city regulators $500,000 in fines and fees. The company additionally agreed to stop all harassing activities, fix hazardous conditions on its properties and continue to abate rent for tenants adversely affected by its actions.
“Too often, bad landlords see rent-regulated apartments as a gold mine,” stated Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in the wake of the announced settlement.
The findings against Icon were numerous and starkly adverse, with the city’s Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force probe uncovering large-scale unresponsiveness to tenants’ maintenance requests. Regulators state, too, that tenants often endured “long interruptions of heat, hot water and cooking gas service.”
The magnitude of the investigation was notably large. Reportedly, it encompassed about 70 properties across the city.