Realty company accused of tenant mistreatment buys multifamily buildings in Flushing for $80 million

140-60 Beech Ave.
Photos via Google Maps

A Jamaica-based realty company recently purchased two multifamily units in Flushing to the tune of $80 million.

The Real Deal first reported that Zara Realty bought a pair of buildings; a $37.5 million building at 140-60 Beech Ave. and a $42.5 million building at 140-30 Ash Ave. According to the report, the firm purchased the properties from real estate agent Ilias Theodoropoulos, who has owned the buildings since 2005 and 2008 respectively.

Zara reportedly wants to keep the neighboring apartments as long-term assets. Both buildings span a total of 250,000 square feet and contain about 266 apartments total.

Many have vocally criticized Zara Realty for illegal and unfair treatment toward tenants living in their rent-stabilized apartments. The company currently owns 58 buildings, which total 2,500 rent-stabilized apartments in Jamaica and surrounding areas.

Back in March, State Attorney General Letitia James sued the landlord for charging illegal fees to 38 tenants in rent-stabilized apartments. Eighty tenants rallied with James based on her lawsuit charging Zara with “signing improper leases, illegally raising rents as well as denying tenant rights.”

140-30 Ash Ave.

“For years, Zara Realty has engaged in an egregious pattern of tenant harassment and exploitation,” said James in a statement. “Evading our rent regulation laws and forcing low-income tenants to pay exorbitant fees for fake services is deception of the worst kind. This is a notice to all unscrupulous landlords who seek to hurt New Yorkers, we will not tolerate this behavior.”

In May, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams joined community organizers in speaking out against Zara for improperly using Major Capital Improvements (MCI) to evict tenants.

According to Williams, the abuse of MCIs could lead to tenants being priced out of their homes. The public advocate called on the state to support legislation which would no longer allow landlords to use MCIs to force renters to pay for building repairs.

But the real estate company defended its use of MCIs, saying that they are approved by the Homes & Community Renewal office after “a lengthy and thorough review” and that tenants can also review and comment on MCI plans before construction begins.