Ridgewood tenants plan weekend march against landlord over ‘predatory’ violations

QNS/Photo by Anthony Giudice

Long after partners with Silvershore Properties made the 100 “Worst Landlords List” from the city Public Advocate’s office, Ridgewood renters are planning an April 13 march against the company and demanding universal rent control.

The Ridgewood Tenants Union claims that people living in the property 1708 Summerfield St. experience poor conditions in apartments and failure of the landlord to consistently provide heat and hot water.

“Silvershore Properties has long preyed on tenants at 1708 Summerfield St. [and] now operates several buildings in Ridgewood,” the organization said in a statement. “In ’17 they were #1 Worst Landlord in NYC. In Ridgewood, they are still our #1 and we are organizing to say no more to their predatory ways.”

They allege that the situation is similar at 61-20 Madison St. – where the rally is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. – and complaints to the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development back this claim.

Ken Fisher, an attorney representing Silvershore, denied that the buildings’ decrepit state was solely the company’s fault. Silverstone acquired the property in that condition, he said, and is now working to address issues through third party management.

“It’s no surprise that old buildings neglected for years [would have problems], but theres simply no basis that this is part of a deliberate effort to drive tenants out,” Fisher said. “Ridgewood is obviously a neighborhood in transition and I think people are trying to connect some dots with Silvershore that are not cause and affect.”

Fisher said the company was only named to the 100 Worst Landlords List because of the high number of complaints from the previous owners. He pointed out that they did not make the 2018 list.

According to Fisher, over 100 violations were cleared the week of the report and Saturday’s rally is only part of a continued “pile-on” two years after then-Public Advocate Letitia James released the list.

Ariel Property Advisors, retained by Silvershore to sell the Madison Street building, stated that it “offers stable cashflow with a great opportunity to add value to the rental income. As the Ridgewood neighborhood continues to transform, the location offers tremendous growth potential.”

Fisher claimed that any effort to raise profits from the units, as pitched by Ariel, would be a grievance to take up with any future owner of the building.

The asking price is $2.4 million for the eight three-bedroom units in the 9,200 square foot building.

According to HPD, the Madison Street property already has 16 complaints from 2019 alone and well over 30 from 2018. The most common complaints referred to a lack of heat and hot water, usually effecting the entire building.

In 2019, there are 65 complaints in regarding the Summerfield Street building.

Jonathan Cohen from Silvershore had 1,090 HPD violations to his name in 2017.

In a 2017 interview with DNA Info, Jason Silverstein claimed the company usually buys property in need of repairs and often offers buy-outs to rent-stabilized tenants.

This is not the first time residents have taken to the streets to protest against Silvershore. In March 2016, protestors accused the company of neglecting the Summerfield building in an attempt to drive the mostly Section 8 residents to find housing elsewhere as well as rampant mold.

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez called on them to answer the allegations in a letter.

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