One of the official “worst landlords” in New York City faces a $2 million lawsuit from tenants accusing him of renting them overcharging.
The 22 residents from 1074 Eastern Parkway in Crown Heights fell under a rent freeze levied against landlord Rubin Dukler for failing to fix building problems on a Thursday in New York State Court.
“The rent was frozen in 2002,” said Ivan Marchena, the Brooklyn Legal Services paralegal who represents the tenants.
Raising $2 Million Using Rent Overcharges
Dukler and Iris Holdings Group — Dukler claims now owns the building— were wrongly raised 2 million dollars in rent, states the lawsuit.
This is another accusation against Dukler, who is currently the 86th biggest landlord in the city, according to a list published by the city’s public adviser.
Tenants in several of its buildings, including 1074 Eastern Parkway, complains about insufficient heat in winter, mold, and leaks, infestations with vermin and plumage all go unaddressed.
Two of these buildings is represented by Brooklyn Legal Services in a 2019 harassment lawsuit. This led to a deeper dive into rent history that uncovered irregularities. Marchena said.
In 2002, Eastern Parkway’s unresolved problems prompted officials to issue an effective freeze on rents against Dukler’s company. But Dukler continued to increase rents by filing falsified rent amounts with a government agency.
Comparisons between documents indicated that one tenant had charged more than $900 to freeze his rent, the prosecution states.
In other instances, Dukler reported fake names in the apartments of residents, the lawyer alleges. This enabled him to claim “vacancy increases” by 20% on rent in apartments that the tenants had never left.
For comment, Dukler could not be contacted.
Similar charges are also brought against the Iris Holdings Group.
Marchena said it’s unfortunate officials who did not uncover these activities at New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). He said self-report rents for property owners are under an effective honor system.