Brooklyn, NY – Longtime residents of 63 Tiffany Place, one of the last affordable housing buildings in Cobble Hill, face potential eviction as the property’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) regulatory agreement expires on December 31, 2023. Tenants and elected officials are calling for the building owner, Irving Langer, as well as City and State agencies to come to the table and reach an agreement to preserve 63 Tiffany Place as affordable housing.
Formerly a warehouse, developers originally purchased the building to convert into residential condominium units in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The developers were unable to sell any units and sold the foreclosed building to Related Companies to rent as LIHTC-regulated affordable rental units, before C.H.T. Place, LLC and E&M Management took ownership in 2010. Although the building received substantial tax benefits that required many of these apartments to be rent stabilized, the building owners now claim that rent stabilization protections cannot apply to these properties as they are still condos, not rental apartments – even after exclusively operating them as affordable rental housing for nearly 30 years.
Irving Langer has a history of predatory behavior as a pattern speculator in rent-stabilized multi-family housing. He has a track record of deferred maintenance, displacement of tenants, and deregulation of affordable housing, landing him on the Public Advocate’s Worst Landlord Watchlist multiple times, and on the Right to Counsel’s “Worst Evictor Watchlist” in 2018.
Although tenant leaders, organizers with the Carroll Gardens Association, local elected officials, and State agencies have made multiple attempts to reach the landlord, Irving Langer and E&M Associates remain unresponsive. Without Langer responding to government agency outreach, the City and State have been unable to negotiate an agreement that would protect tenants from rent hikes and displacement.
John Leyva, who has lived in the building for 29 years with his 15-year-old severely autistic son, said, “We have a building with 70 units with older people and senior citizens and we’re going to end up homeless unless somebody really helps us out. It's no fault of our own. We’ve paid rent on time; we’ve been good citizens. We are asking for help from all elected officials. I see that they’re trying to have a lot of new developments for low-income housing, but we have to save the ones that are here already. This is one of them. The building owner used low-income housing subsidies to get rich. Now he wants to put us out on the street.”
Carol Beasley, a long-time tenant, said, “We came in on the low-income credit program. We were told that we might not be able to stay there because our program is definitely going to expire. We would like to come together with city agencies – the Department of Finance and Housing Preservation and Development – and the landlord to find out if we can extend our stay.”
Joy Foster, a long-time tenant who raised her two children in the building said, “This building has been home to many people for up to 30 years, some of whom were in this neighborhood for even longer. This is just an instance of Columbus discovering a great place that already existed and just wanting it for as much money as he could possibly dream of, at the expense of the human beings that were here first, all over again.” Foster continued, “Irving Langer, you have decent tenants here, stop treating us like cattle for slaughter and let us live! Stop being part of the problem and pricing everybody out of New York.”
Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon said, “The tenants at 63 Tiffany Place are in a dire situation and are likely to be evicted if the landlord doesn’t come to the table to work out a solution with city and state officials. The 70 families who live here include older people, people with low incomes, and people with disabilities who are long-time residents and make up an integral part of this neighborhood. It’s unacceptable that the owner hasn’t engaged thus far and is mis-classifying the building as a condominium after receiving substantial rent stabilization tax benefits for decades. I urge the city and state agencies to do everything they can to protect this critical affordable housing.”
“63 Tiffany Place is one of the last truly affordable rental buildings remaining in Carroll Gardens, and the City and State have a responsibility to preserve and protect this critical resource for current and future tenants of low-income,” said Jenny Akchin, an attorney with TakeRoot Justice, who is representing the tenants. “It’s absolutely urgent that the City and State immediately ramp up their efforts to hold Irving Langer and C.H.T. Place to account and to maintain these 70 units as truly affordable housing for future generations.”
“63 Tiffany Place is an example of the critically needed affordable housing New York City simply cannot afford to lose in this moment of crisis,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “With a looming regulatory agreement expiration, we must not let that affordability slip away and put families at risk of evictions and mass rent hikes. E&M Associates needs to step up to the table, and City and State agencies need to do everything in their power to make sure tenants get to stay in their homes.”
“We cannot let the regulatory agreement that allows these tenants to live in their homes expire," said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. "It's as simple as that. We must work together to compel E&M Associates to the table with the residents of 63 Tiffany Place, and to ensure each and every one of these Brooklynites can stay in their affordably priced homes."
"The tenants at 63 Tiffany Place are our neighbors, our friends, and our community members. They deserve to be treated with respect and dignity as well as have a safe and affordable place to live and age,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “Despite years of outreach, the landlord, the City, and the state have failed to come together to ensure a new regulatory agreement is made to keep these working-class residents in their homes. I’m here to stand in solidarity with these tenants and demand a solution. We cannot allow this shining example of affordable housing to become another luxury condominium at the expense of our long-term neighbors.”