Abuse & Harassment:
Abuse and harassment of Rent Regulated (and market rate) tenants seems to be the standard operating procedure for the Cromans. This is why the NY State Attorney General
The Cromans and their employees are ruthless and stop at almost nothing to separate you from your home while making your life a living hell.
The Cromans prey first on those who may not know or stand up for their rights (e.g. the elderly, immigrants, the disabled). And then everyone else.
The Croman's goal upon purchasing your building is to empty it of all Rent Regulated tenants, gut renovate and deregulate as many of the apartments as possible,
and then, rent to a never-ending supply of mostly NYU students, who come and go, and pay the Croman's (and 9300's) high rents.
Be prepared for:
- Frequent disruption of basic services [ e.g. heat and hot water ]
- Years of dangerous and disruptive construction
- Legal threats (the Cromans use the legal system as a form of harassment)
- Illegal entry / break-ins into your apartment, under no or false pretenses,
- Deceit, dishonesty, unpleasant, unprofessional treatment of tenants and others
- Incompetent or absent building Superintendents, filthy common areas, hallways, incompetent trash management.
- Pressure to accept paltry buyout offers (and or free rent) to leave your home permanently, false legal threats and continued harassment if you do not accept offer
- Security deposit theft
- Disintegration of building culture, neighbors are transient
- Illegal hotels, using the Airbnb website, which among other things, further disrupts building culture and deprives NYC of tax dollars
- Anyone renting their rent regulated apartment via Airbnb is doing their neighbors and NYC a disservice and should lose their apartment
- Report illegal hotels and tax evasion in NYC
Unscrupulous landlords like Croman Real Estate / 9300 Realty make renewing your rent stabilized lease difficult or impossible, this is harassment, you can and should take them to court.
Croman prefers you not have a current lease. I imagine it's so they can say something like, "we sent a lease, but they didn't return it, I guess they're not interested in living in the apartment" - and then try to get you out.
If you are concerned about your lease renewal, send a certified letter to Croman / 9300 requesting renewal, keep copies and delivery confirmation. If not effective, complain to NYSHCR via the following "Tenant's Complaint of Owner's Failure to Renew Lease and/or Failure to Furnish a Copy of a Signed Lease" form: http://www.nyshcr.org/Forms/rent/ra90.pdf
You may need to submit the form multiple times in correspondence with NYSHCR, referencing the docket number you receive initially, in order to receive a signed renewal lease.
In the rare event a signed lease is returned to you, it is often signed illegibly, you may opt to send in the complaint form again with all evidence.
Remember, while you do not have an updated lease, you may opt to pay the old rent or you may choose to pay what would be the new amount based on the mandated one or two year increases. Some say paying the old rent is safer, as paying the new rent could imply acceptance of a not yet existing lease, which might include illegal provisions. Talk to your local housing advocacy group (e.g. G.O.L.E.S., Cooper Square Committee, or Met Council on Housing).
If all else fails, you may decide to take Croman Real Estate / 9300 Realty to housing court.
Unusual communications from Croman:
Strange, contrary, unprofessional, unsigned, memos, from the property manager, or the Cromans, delivered under your door or in the crack, vague requests to enter your apartment for construction without permits.
Pay attention to any communication from Croman. Know what is important and what is not.
Many forms of communication like surveys, tenant information sheets, and others that seek information, can be ignored, and are in fact designed to be used against you, while official looking documents, and false or erroneous bills should be scrutinized and addressed.
When dealing with Croman / 9300 Realty, there is a general sense everyone in the organization is off the level. They are ruthless hustlers who'd send their own mothers and children up the river for one more dollar, think of what they do to tenants. You cannot trust them at all. They say one thing and do something else entirely, to screw you. Any dealings with them must be done with an attorney or trusted authority.
Unsafe / illegal renovations in occupied buildings:
Croman Real Estate / 9300 Realty will try to get a feel for if you can be bought out. Typical offers amount to 1 year of rent, sometimes they will offer free rent, or both.
Any buyout may be subject to taxes.
Consider what the renovated yearly market rate for your apartment will be and use that instead in your calculations to what is fair.
Anyone considering a buyout should insist the final offer be made in writing. Offers made in writing are more likely to be legitimate and provide a paper trail.
Seriously consider legal representation when dealing with Croman Real Estate / 9300 Realty in any offer to buy you out, to be better assured the terms of the agreement are acceptable.
Consider what would happen should the Cromans dishonor any of the terms of the agreement and what recourse you would have.
Unless you already intend to leave your apartment, the city, or have an extremely desirable apartment, or low rent, buyouts are almost never a good deal for tenants.
Don't Trust the Super:
The Super may seem nice and appear to be doing good work, but be aware, he is watching and listening to you very closely, perhaps via hidden video and audio surveillance, and perhaps, in your own apartment. Be sure never to trust him, or any employee of Croman's organization. The Super is likely a master lock picker and former criminal who has spent time in prison (for god knows what), he can enter your apartment at will, while you're away, to search for evidence, that may be used to evict you, or get the upper hand, for his boss, Steve Croman. Trusting the Super is like trusting Steve Croman.
Tenant relocation specialists:
It has been reported Croman Real Estate / 9300 Realty employ such individuals.
Reports suggest they bang on doors, attempt to gain access under false pretenses (e.g., pretend to be ConEd, FedEx, etc.), to inspect your apartment, for imagined illegal renovations, to investigate you, and to otherwise intimidate you.
Do not let anyone you do not know and / or trust into your apartment.
Inspections require 24 hours in advance, repairs require 5 days written notice, emergency access could be at any time (if it's obviously not an emergency and they have gained access, tell them to leave and call the police) ... when the time comes, have witnesses, and record the encounter. Do not let anyone take pictures or record audio or video in your apartment.
Call 911 immediately if you are being harassed, you may also legally record any interaction with anyone in New York State, as long as you are aware of the recording. This works both ways and you can also be recorded. Assume you are being recorded when speaking with anyone in Croman's organization. This is our interpretation of the law, please get legal advice to confirm.
"Mistakes" with your rent payment = harassment:
Always get a receipt, never pay in cash, and keep a copy of ALL paperwork outside of your apartment. Emailing documents (to multiple email accounts) is one way to accomplish. Do not spend the rent money!
Taking rent stabilized tenants to court is a tactic aggressive landlords like Croman use to emotionally and financially wear out those tenants who may not have the wherewithal to stand up for their rights.
Once Croman decides to take you to court you are in some jeopardy. It's a tactic Croman uses, because he has money to hire lawyers while most people don't.
It is very important to keep extensive and organized records of all rent payments and all other communication with Croman.
Shady Banking / LLC entities:
Though your building is owned by Croman, it is likely called something like: 319 Bowery NY, LLC (substitute your address).
There are legal reasons like secrecy, limited liability (to tenants and banks) behind setting up an LLC for each property.
The Croman's hide behind their LLCs to avoid notoriety and liability.
Funny business with your security deposit:
Security Deposit Complaint form:
New York Times Article: