Skip to comments.Woman Lives In Spacious Brooklyn Loft Rent-Free For Past Six Years
Posted on 06/14/2012 7:56:50 AM PDT by JoeProBono
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) How would you like to not pay your rent, year after year, and get away with it?
A Brooklyn woman has done just that for the past six years.
Artist Margaret Maugenest, 60, stopped paying rent for several years, but instead of getting evicted, the states highest court said she was justified, CBS 2′s John Slattery reported.
Yeah, I feel very good about that, John. I feel very relieved, Maugenest told Slattery.
Since 1984, Maugenest has lived in a loft a converted manufacturing building on Nevins Street in Gowanus with rent of less than 600 a month.
Several years ago, however, Maugenest began withholding rent because over no maintenance and safety concerns.
The wooden pillars in the basement were rotting, Maugenest said.
Under the citys 1982 Loft Law, former commercial buildings could be rented to residential tenants if safety issues were met. But this tenant says a gas leak in the building wasnt fixed it was just shut off.
We didnt have gas for about a year-and-a-half, Maugenest said. That meant I couldnt cook.
She also said she had no hot water.
After six years of non-payment with the landlord trying to evict her, she was forced to pay 2 1/2 years of court-ordered rent. The landlord won two lower rulings, but now, the states highest court said that since the landlord missed deadlines for building improvement, theres no eviction, and back rent cant be collected.
The landlords lawyer, David Berger, counsel for Chazon LLC, citing an overburdened Loft Board, said, The result is that the tenant may live rent free in a very large apartment, that she obviously feels safe in, under the guise that she is just trying to get the Landlord to make her apartment safe, with no end or limit.
Maugenest gets to keep the back rent for the past 6 1/2 years which amounts to roughly $35,000.
It’s amazing what people can rationalize.
I suppose the problems there could be resolved with requirements that all leases be for 20 year minimum periods, but that's not the issue here.
This is a BUILDING CODE ISSUE. The landlord agreed to "maintenance" in order to get occupancy permits so he could rent his space to people to live in ~ remember, even New York has its standards, minimal though they may be, but they got 'em and he agreed to it.
He didn't keep up his end of the bargain ~ he violated the terms of the contract ~ he loses.
She lived in a crummy dump of an apartment for free.
I have no problem with that outcome at all. You sign an agreement with someone (he with the zoning folks) you should abide by it or GIT OUT THE BIZNESS
“Artist Margaret Maugenest, 60”
Another 1 of those, eh? Based on the story, the LL was not able to fix/replace what the tenant asked for, ending up in this mess.
pretty much what you said. Although the apartment doesn’t look like a crummy dump by Brooklyn standards.
Yeah, that woman had some nerve to expect the landlord to provide gas and hot water in her apartment in a building that isn’t on the verge of collapse.
I actually side with her (so far). No gas? No hot water? Sounds like the textbook slum lord.
A $600/month rent? In NYC....I don’t hardly see how the LL is ‘bum’....any way you look at it ‘value’ is ‘value’ and a $600/month rent has to assume some inconveniences. Automatically assuming that a landlord is assuming the tenant cannot fight it legally is absurd - she did, and with the legal mentality in NYC, she won.
Rent control is socialism, just like progressive income taxes. If you can’t see that, then I don’t know what to tell you. I sure as hell wouldn’t rent anything I own to you.
No hot water? She never showers?
We responded to that problem by making plans for other, newer, better buildings to move to ~ one of which was the New York Bulk and Foreign Facility. They pushed some pilings down too deep and tapped NATURAL GAS. That required spending $60 million on gigantic fans to blow the gas out from under the half billion dollar structure so it was safe to work in.
Just all sorts of things happen around there.
BTW, by Brooklyn standards her apartment looks great ~ it has a ceiling, fire safety system (those water pipes), windows ~ I know a young lady who's a friend of the family who lived for 8 or 9 months in an INTERIOR room that'd formerly been the hallway entrance for half a dozen other one room apartments. No airflow, no heat, no cooling, no independent control of the lights, and so forth. New York thought that was just great.
Here in Indiana one has to actually move out of the premesis in order to use landlord non-compliance as an excuse not to pay your rent. You either leave or you owe the rent. (less any monetary damages)
In a Free Market, I’m with you 100%.
However, this is NOT a free market. Rent Controls dictate that the apartment goes for less than $600, when it’s entirely possible that the property taxes on that apartment are that much. There is no money for the landlord to pay to maintain his building. Certainly you don’t think the landlord should be forced to pay money from his pocket, to enable someone to live in the building.
In a FREE Market, the rent would be placed at market value, by the sq. ft. plus ammenities. There would be ample profit for the landlord to hire a maintenance person/team to oversee repairs.
As such, the Landlord is held hostage to getting “something” out of his building, or giving it to the city for failing to pay taxes.
I blame “Rent Control” bought to us all by the “Rent is too damn High” party.
I remember when I was in college, my cheap landlord didn’t turn on the heat until November 1. I live in Minnesota too!
As to renting to me, it wouldn't matter who your tenant was, any non corrupt judge like the one in this story is going to have you not receiving rent if you pull the stupid crap the landlord in this story pulled.
You personally are expressing your basic distaste for the very concept of reciprocal responsibility. It doesn't work that way.
I suggest a different policy than the one you espouse: If you don't intend to fulfill your end of an agreement, don't enter into one. Clearly that would be an entirely new concept for you, but you should try it anyway.
What does this have to do with rent control?
Yeah, rotting wood and no gas for 1 1/2yr, what is she thinking?
“You sign an agreement with someone”
that they were forced to sign via government guns. Walter Williams’ article was spot on the other day. Fascism is when the government can force property owners to take certain actions and then they can blame the property owner for the problems that are caused.....
Okay...have a nice day...
You get what you pay for.
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