Story and photos by Gregg McQueen
He’s a “bad apple.”
The landlord of 78-86 Thayer Street in Inwood is driving his rent regulated tenants out of the property and has kept over 30 apartments vacant, according to residents and elected officials.
City Councilmember Ydanis Rodríguez and State Senator Adriano Espaillat joined Democratic nominee for State Assembly Carmen De La Rosa, building residents and housing advocates from Picture the Homeless outside the Thayer Street building on October 18 to criticize the actions of landlord Joseph Noormand.
They insisted that Noormand has allowed building conditions to deteriorate in order to get low-income tenants out, failed to pay taxes to the city and warehoused empty apartments.
“We have to hold bad apples, in this case building owners, accountable,” said Rodríguez. “They should be respectful of the rights of our tenants, and they have to stop using bad tactics to get people out.”
He said that 31 of the building’s 65 units currently sit empty, which he suggested was a tactic by the landlord to ward off rent-stabilized tenants and potentially wait for neighborhood property values to increase or for the building to turn into a coop.
Apartments at the site have been vacant for months or even years, according to Rodríguez.
“These are the forces of gentrification lurking around,” remarked Espaillat. “Let’s call it for what it is. They’re seeing how they can capture rent-stabilized apartments and take them into market rate.”
John Feliciano, who lived in the building for 16 years, said that he is moving out soon because building conditions are poor.
Read more: Ticked off on Thayer | Manhattan Times