Chinatown Landlord Investigated For Abusive Behavior Towards Elderly Asian Tenants

August 20, 2014 | Marina Galperina

Marolda Properties is being subpoenaed by the Division of Housing’s Tenant Protection Unit for repeated “abusive behavior” targeting Asian-American and Chinese-speaking tenants. The company recently purchased several large buildings in aggressively gentrifying Chinatown and according to the Daily Newstheir landlord is trying to force tenants out of rent-controlled apartments by “withholding basic services, refusing to renew leases as required by law and starting baseless eviction proceedings.”

According to their lawyers’ statements (PDF link), Ms. Ying Di Zheng (82) and her son Guo Ying Wang (61) have lived at 7 Rivington Street for over 25 years, in one of the only two rent-stabilized apartments left in the 16-unit building. As part of the Senior Citizens Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE), part of their rent is regularly subsidized by the Department of Finance in form of tax credits to the landlord. Though their own books prove that Zheng and Wang paid their rent in full, Marolda Properties has started several eviction procedures against the elderly pair.

Executive Director of CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities added: “CAAAV has been working with tenants of this landlord in multiple buildings in Chinatown, and we have seen many low-income, Asian tenants displaced from their rent-regulated homes. We support these Plaintiffs and hope that more tenants will stand up to stop harassment.” Tenants in several buildings have recently requested a meeting with Marolda Properties to discuss problems in the buildings. To date, Marolda Properties has been unresponsive.

As recently reported by the New York Timesthe elderly and tenants not fluent in English are among the most vulnerable in New York and often the target of shady, forceful and illegal landlord practices. (Image: Google Maps)