Attorney General reaches settlement with Vantage
by Holly Tsang
Feb 11, 2010 | 4058 views | 0 0 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced today that major New York City landlord Vantage Properties – accused last week of forcing long-term, rent-regulated tenants to move out of their apartments so it could charge higher rent for the same units – will pay $750,000 in compensation payments to harassed tenants and $250,000 to fund non-profit organizations that offer free legal and educational services to tenants.

The Attorney General's office last week announced its intent to sue Vantage Properties after the office received several complaints about the company from tenants and advocacy groups.

“Landlords who harass tenants harm all New York City residents by displacing long-time tenants from stable neighborhoods and exacerbating the affordable housing shortage,” said Cuomo. “In these tough economic times, the preservation of affordable housing is of the utmost importance. Today’s agreement with Vantage not only preserves the rent-regulated apartments owned by them, but also sends a strong message that my office will continue to protect tenants and bring unscrupulous landlords to justice.”

In a statement released by Vantage, the company appeared unapologetic, making no mention of the $1 million it has agreed to pay.

“Vantage was founded with the goal of bringing positive and much-needed change to New York’s ailing affordable housing industry,” read a statement. “Today’s agreement on affordable housing best practices represents another milestone for Vantage in our pursuit of this goal – and will help set new standards for the residential housing industry in New York City. We encourage other real estate companies to join us in implementing these best practices, and we reaffirm Vantage’s commitment to outstanding service and innovation on behalf of our residents.”

The settlement also requires Vantage to make important policy changes, including the hiring of an independent monitor to review all tenant harassment complaints and ensure that tenants are compensated for any harm; providing non-English speaking tenants with translation services pertaining to landlord-tenant issues; and regularly submitting reports to the Attorney General’s office for three years demonstrating compliance with the agreement.

“These reforms will put in place, for the first time, new rules of the road governing the landlord-tenant relationship in New York,” said Cuomo. “If there are other landlords not living up to these standards, they should.”

For more information on the full agreement with Vantage, visit the Attorney General's web site.
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