draft Rent Control Presentation
THE ADDISON ADVOCATE
Management has an open opportunity to provide positive news to be posted on this blog.
CALL TO ACTION ITEMS: to be announced
October 7, 2017: By Peter Pariselli; NESPRESSO COFFEE MACHINE TO BE RAFFLED OFF TO ENHANCE MEMBERSHIP DRIVE. Attention all residents: We are raffling off a brand new Nespresso Black Citiz machine, in it's original box. It is a 19 bar capsule based espresso machine. A retail price of $249.00, the Citiz machine creates over 10 different Espresso blends with capsules available online, over phone and select store locations. As an added bonus the machine will include 3 sleeves of the more popular blends, bring the total dollar value closer to $300. Everyone who joins the Tenants Association or renews their membership between September 1st and our next meeting will be eligible. We will publicly draw the winner at an upcoming general meeting.
October 6, 2017, by Eric Martindale: MAJOR REHAB'S UNDERWAY; SUBSTANTIAL REHAB APPLICATIONS LIKELY FOR THE ADDISON – Forget all the claims that rent control kills investment. For the first time since the two high-rise buildings at 380 and 402 Mount Prospect Avenue were built in the early 1960’s, bathrooms in vacant units are being gutted out and completely re-tiled. New showers and vanities are being installed. The new floor tiles are approximately 18” x 18” marble, and elegant long white subway tiles complete the modern look. Photo 1 shower Photo 2 bathtub
Kitchens in vacant units are also being gutted out and completely replaced. The new cabinets are walnut-brown, with new stainless steel appliances. They are using the same 18” x 18” marble floor tiles as in the new bathrooms, and above the countertops backsplash tiles add the finishing touch. The new countertops are still laminate, not stone, but the overall appearance is very modern and trendy. Entire units are being spray-painted white, and new laminate flooring is going down. Previous landlords have replaced kitchens, but nothing of this quality. Photo 3 kitchen
Landlord Jay Newhouse was crystal clear to the 380-402 Tenants Association that he won’t spend a dime to improve the buildings unless the Addison Advocate blog and website is suspended. This has been exposed as an empty threat, as he is now spending enormous sums of money for intensive rehabilitation of vacant units in both buildings. The blog and webpage remain up and running.
The upgraded units will likely be marketed to tenants with higher incomes that are looking to relocate from New York or the Hudson County Waterfront in order to secure substantially lower rents. The full force of gentrification is now upon our buildings. It’s no longer a worry or a prediction. It’s here.
It appears likely that the cost of the rehab will hit the numbers for a 10% rent increase, as allowed in the most recently revised Rent Control Ordinance, which was passed on September 5th. The ordinance went into effect without a Court challenge on October 2, 2017. Jacques Lee, Director of Rent Control, confirmed by phone the other day that no attempt was filed by this landlord to have any rehab’s qualify under the prior 20% rent increase standard which was adopted in March, 2017. The 10% increase will be the benchmark, and our landlord will have to prove that he spent the equivalent of 12 months rent on rehabilitation to qualify. The approximate spending goals are $11,500 for a studio, $16,000 for a one-bedroom, and $22,000 for a 2-bedroom.
A 10% return on investment is still a very viable business plan, and more than the average investor makes in the stock market. Creating an equation that beats the stock market, but is not overkill was specifically one of main goals of the recent Rent Control Ballot Initiative ordinance. Eric Martindale was successful in getting the Homes For All group to change the equation from a 20% rent increase if 8 months rent is spent on rehab to a 10% rent increase if 12 months rent is spent. Had the group made the equation just a bit stronger, these units would probably be getting granite countertops in order to hit the spending threshold.
Investing $22,000 in a rehab will secure a greater return in the form of increased rents than investing $22,000 into the stock market, and the landlord will have an even greater return if his goal is to flip the building in 5 years or so. The fact that these repairs are commencing is proof that the Substantial Rehabilitation language in the new Rent Control Ordinance is NOT too strong.
The downside to existing tenants at The Addison is that if the landlord’s applications for Substantial Rehabilitation are approved by the Newark Rent Control board there will be classes of tenants here, those who are paying the 10% higher rent, and those he wants to move out so he can rehab the apartment and increase the rent another 10%. The lure of increasing the rent by getting existing tenants to move out does not bode well for tenants that want to stay, and simply want basic repairs made.
October 3, 2017: Op-Ed by April Miller; CHILLY START TO OCTOBER, AND NO HEAT - There have been concerns voiced over the fact that both building’s heat has not yet been turned on. The temperature dipped as low as 48 degrees in downtown, Newark at 5:51 AM on the morning of October 2, 2017 Oct 2 Newark weather record The absolute temperature is typically several degrees cooler here in the Forest Hill neighborhood. There was a breeze, and the breeze brought the wind chill factor deep into the 30's, if not lower. It was cold.
The Newark city ordinance is as follows: “The ordinance for “No Heat” 18:3-1.19 (C) states: “When the owner is obligated to supply heat, such heat shall be supplied in every unit of dwelling space and every habitable room therein from October 1 through May 1 so that: Between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m., a minimum inside temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit shall be maintained. Between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., a minimum inside temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit shall be maintained.”
As always, the tenants here at The Addison have no issue reporting their concerns. Here are the phone numbers to make a report: City of Newark Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 733-4311, Monday thru Friday. On weekends and holidays, please contact the “No Heat Hotline” at (973) 733-6471. Note to Management: It’s time to turn on the heat as you are legally required to.
September 28, 2017 by Peter Pariselli; NEWS BRIEF: SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER - Hello fellow tenants, please see the September, 2017 issue of our newsletter. Sept 2017 In order to better inform everyone of current and upcoming developments, we will be sending out physical newsletters as well as posting them on The Addison blog and the Newark Tenants News blog. This is so that our tenants and the public at large will have access to our newsletter, and to serve as an archive. If anyone wishes to help with the work of the Tenants Association or post information on our blog, please contact the Executive Board so we can work together to keep the tenants of The Addison and Newark informed. We reserve editorial discretion on blog postings. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
September 25, 2017 by Carl Hill; GENERAL MEETING OF TENANTS: We had a productive General Meeting on Saturday, Sept 23rd, 2017. Some new tenants who want to become involved were in attendance. Many issues were discussed that were and remain a concern to the tenants. There will be further meetings and newsletters to pursue constructive solutions to issues that were voiced. The blog will continue to post news several times a week. We discussed tenancy issues, including but not limited to: rents, rent control, leases, security, and quality of life.
The annual dues drive is continuing. The dues remain unchanged at a very fair $1/month, $12/year, per unit. The tenants’ investment in the work of the 380-402 Tenants Association has resulted in savings of over $600,000 annually, with the defeat of the Azure Waterford/Addison Hardship Application in 2016. Passage of a stronger Rent Control Ordinance in 2014 is saving Addison tenants over $438,000 per year - an amount that increases every year. The defeat of the Capital Improvement Surcharge, also in 2014, has saved tenants $1.8 million.
That $12 annual investment is yielding a continuing return on investment that even Warren Buffet would be proud of……
September 20, 2017: Mount Prospect Ave from 2nd to Abington is being repaved. We believe this is being paid for by PSE&G, because the street was damaged due to utilities work. Portions of 2nd Ave are also being repaved.
September 19, 2017: Many tenants who received "Notice to Quit" eviction letters recently got a followup letter saying to disregard the letter, and that no rent increase will be pursued until the month that the lease is due. This is believed to be the result of the Tenant Association's complaint to Rent Control that tenants were being asked to renew leases before 12 months had passed from their last increase. Some, but not all, of these tenants had agreed to an annual increase, but didn't sign a new lease.
Management is in process of officially registering the rents of the building with Rent Control. This was supposed to be done by April, but the former management (Kettler) didn't do it because (a) they knew the building was selling, and (b) they absolutely couldn't care less what kind of problem this would make for the new owner. The new owner is therefore in violation of Rent Control rules, and could be subject to rolling back all rent increases since April. Most certainly the rent increases between April and when the building sold in July are seriously in question. Maria Hernandez says that Rent Control has a policy to give a new owner 90 days to get their registration act together, however it is not encoded in the Rent Control Ordinance, and it represents a level of deviation from the Rent Control Ordinance that is questionable. Policies and Procedures are meant to clarify am ordinance, not rewrite the ordinance. This will be discussed on Saturday.
Management has cleaned, buffed, and waxed the lobby floors.
September 18, 2017: We received word from Rent Control that the due date for the annual registration is April of every year, and they confirmed that The Addison did not register. This theoretically means that leases signed after April can be rolled back, and especially leases signed between April and when the new owner took over (July 17). Rent Control has a policy, which is not clarified in the ordinance, to give new owners a grace period to get their records and registration in order. This policy should in no way be extended to the prior ownership. Our owner has promised Rent Control to have the registration submitted within "one to two weeks".
September 17, 2017: The Executive Board communicated a letter to the owner stating that we will not take down The Addison blog.
September 16, 2017: The Executive Board met tonite, and set a time and date for a General Meeting of all tenants, which will be next Saturday, September 23, in the 380 lobby at 7:30 PM. A newsletter is going out in a few days. Issues to address will include the lease renewals and eviction letters, as well as strategies to secure repairs, and a general discussion about the new ownership/management. It's an open public meeting, and if anyone from management wishes to attend, they may.
I wish to offer my praises for our Executive Board members. When we meet, myself as Chairman simply has to read the agenda items, and all the Board members are bursting with discussion and input. It's not like the previous Board, where the Chair did all the talking and everyone else was supposed to nod their heads in agreement. A few highlights from the meeting:
LIEN STRATEGY: The Board likes the "lien" strategy outlined on the main blog, which is for the tenant to register a lien on the property for repairs not made, instead of (a) pursuing the almost useless Newark Code Enforcement approach, or (b) withholding rent via a Marini defense. A bit more research is needed before this is launched. This has the potential of exploding all over Newark, and beyond. The observation was made by an astute Board member that we don't even need to notify the mortgage company of the action, because they are the "primary", and therefore they will be automatically notified by the Court system. The mortgage company doesn't want any liens on the property, and certainly if tenants start piling them up by the dozens, it's going to cause a huge problem between the landlord and the mortgage company. Our hopes are that the mortgage company is going to be very effective in forcing the landlord to make the repairs, in order to clean out the liens.
THE BLOG: As for the blog, this blog is staying up and running. The owners demand that it come down is refused for a second time. Not one Board member present advanced a single argument in favor of taking down the blog. Several of the Board members were upset that we were even having a second discussion about it.
DISCUSSION ON $50 LOCKOUT FEE. We had an interesting discussion about the $50 fee to be paid to Jeyson Pena, the Super, in cash, for after-hours lockout service to let tenants into their apartment. The first is that "how can they assume that every tenant has $50 cash on them, or stashed somewhere in the apartment." Even tenants in good financial condition are increasingly using credit cards, and don't carry around much cash. The second observation was "does Jeyson keeps that money, or if he is obligated to turn some or all of that money over to management." And the third observation is that the second observation doesn't matter, because the tenants at The Addison are not to be asked to participate in any kind of illegal off-the-books transactions for any kind of services by management or their staff. We are dealing with a multi-million dollar operation, and now they want things paid off the books? Seriously? If there is going to be an after-hours lockout fee (whether it is $50 or a lesser and more reasonable amount) it needs to be on the books and assessed to the tenant's ledger. It would then be payable with the next month's rent. If Addison Towers LLC wants to reimburse the Superintendent for some (or all) of the $50, that is none of our business. That's their business. However, if it's on the tenant's ledger, that payment to Jeyson would have to be on the books and legal.
We are still waiting for a response from Newark Rent Control on the legality of the $100 fee to replace a broken lock. The Board also had an interesting discussion about this as well. "What's next, are they going to say the tenant broke the dishwasher when a dishwasher dies, and make the tenant pay for a new dishwasher". The board is upset about that entire page of fees.
September 15, 2017: We have uncovered a legal issue with the leases. All leases signed since July 1st could be invalid and might be subject to being rolled back to the prior rent. This includes but go further than the tenants receiving the Notice To Quit letters demanding that new leases be signed by October 1st.
September 14, 2017: $100 LOCK FEE AT ISSUE Management printed and distributed multiple pages of rules and procedures yesterday. Generally speaking, we want to live in a structured environment. We've had rules before, and we need rules. Tenants are asked to support the rules, and to comply. I haven't polled the Executive Board, but I'm sure everyone supports the idea of having established rules, so long as privacy concerns are met, and nothing is excessive.
That being said, there's one terrible item in the rules. What's very objectionable AND PROBABLY ILLEGAL IN THE CITY OF NEWARK is the $100 fee to replace an apartment door lock and key. And it's not the cost that is objectionable, as the $100 cost for labor and material to change a lock is half the going rate for a locksmith. It's the principle, and it's the actual legality. The locks installed by recent prior owners are very cheaply made, and don't last long. The original locks from the early 1960's are excellent quality, but they are getting old and wearing out. If a 55-year old lock breaks, should that be considered the negligence of the tenant ? Providing a working lock is part of the Warranty of Habitability. It is 100% the responsibility of the owner to change broken locks. Tenants are NOT to be charged for broken locks, or for anything else that breaks in your apartment. This matter will be addressed directly with Newark Rent Control by the Tenants Association. A similar observation can be made about the $30 fee for mailbox lock replacement. It is the landlord's responsibility if that lock breaks. The $50 after-hours lockout fee is also a bit excessive, but I am unsure if any Newark ordinance addresses this.
September 13, 2017: Management is no longer using the recycling room at 380 to store tools. I am pleased to report that it is back to it's function as recycling. The owner, Jay Newhouse, said it was only used for tools storage for "one day", and that we were wrong to make the post on the blog. Either that is true, or the room was only used for tools storage for one day because it was reported on the blog.
We are unsure if management is aware of the city DPW schedule. Other complexes are putting furniture out to the curb for pickup Wednesday morning, but 380/402 instead prefers to throw most furniture and mattresses into the dumpsters. The dumpsters are expensive, and filling them with furniture is not a cost-effective business plan when the city has bulk pickup. Storage of furniture has always been an issue. Right before Azure sold the building, Kettler demanded that the 380 basement hallway no longer be used by tenants to dispose of old furniture and mattresses. Perhaps there could be a room in the basement assigned for this purpose ? These are some things that no architect ever considers when designing a building.
I personally showed Newhouse and the Super, Jeyson Pena, the problem with the 380 side entry door. He says he looked at it previously, but didn't understand the problem. He sees it now. It will be fixed soon, they said. Newhouse encourages the tenants to put in work orders, including common area issues.
The 402 rear entry also has issues. Tenants are tired of the constant drip-drip onto the metal canopy as well as tenants that let or make the door slam. Eric Martindale has a plan for a 200 square foot recessed patio back there, at doorway level, but it has not been presented to Newhouse at this time. The plan addresses everything from drainage to aesthetics to a handicap ramp. And add a few planters with flowers or cedars around "the tank"
We, the tenants, are the entire source of his flow of income. We are the customers, and remember: "the customer is always right".
I again offered the owner the opportunity to provide us with positive news of things happening around the property. He would rather see us take this blog down, saying that the blog is hurting his relationship with the tenants. We think something else is hurting his relationship with the tenants. Basically every resident I talk to that has interacted with Mr. Newhouse says the same thing >>> He would be more effective if he slowed down when he talks to people. He needs to listens more, and be kinder. People say that we have our own version of Donald Trump running this property. I personally think Newhouse does care, and that he just has a little edge to his personality that gives the wrong impression. Donald has an edge too, but he doesn't care, so there's a difference.
No owner we've ever had has given the hands-on attention that Jay is giving us. He drives down here several times a week from Rockland County to personally oversee management, and to contemplate improvements to the property, and to his business plan. That deserves some respect from the tenants. He's frustrated about a lot of things, and a lot of the time, he's right to feel frustrated. Feeling frustration is one thing; showing it is another.
September 12, 2017: Another article, this one dated July 20, 2017, on the sale of our buildings
Sale of our buidlings
Profile for our rental property on Realtor.com
September 11, 2017: SURPRISE, WE HAVE TWO OWNERS. Well, sort of. We have seen the Deed for our property. There's two LLC's, one in Rockland County, NY and one in near Houston, TX. Both are owned by Yechiel "Jay" Newhouse. It is probably set up this way for tax reasons. There's so many LLC's, one has to wonder how the IRS keeps up with all of them. Hey, that's all part of the LLC shell game, and all the apartment owners do it. It's a whole lot of fun researching this stuff, and each source leads to another source.
1. Per the Deed, Addison Towers, LLC owns 71.875% of the investment. Addison Towers, LLC is part of RJ Block Properties, LLC
2. NG Realty Holding, LLC owns 28.125% of the property. NG Realty Holding, LLC is located at: 1030 N. University Drive, Nacogdoches, TX 75961. The principle officer of this LLC is also Yechiel Newhouse.
A very interesting LLC flow chart shows the relationship of NG Realty Holdings, LLC to Yechiel Newhouse and 3 other LLC's
NG Realty LLC flow chart And those 3 LLC, who knows what's the real story with them.
We have been unable to find an LLC flowchart like this for RJ Block Properties, LLC. It would be nice to see.
More source information on NG Realty
BestCompanyTexas.com profile on NG Realty
Companiestx.com profile on NG
Corporation Wiki profile on NG
September 10, 2017: The 380 building recycling area is now being used for tools storage. There was no notification on where to put recyclables, but there are 2 blue recycle cans in the hallway. I guess they are going to remove the recyclables as they come in, but we can see no location outside where they are being stored. Does this mean the recyclables are being thrown out with the garbage ??? There's no reason for the vending machines to have their own small room. Why can't they be stationed in the hallway as they used to be, and use that vending machine space for recyclables.
September 9, 2017: Tenant Resource Library has been launched. It's on the main blog, right column. A bit down.
September 8, 2017: Every tenant received a flyer today, in English and Spanish, stating the management is extending office hours. This was something discussed at our recent meeting, and it was an easy win because management had this in the works
"We are happy to announce that there will be new office hours at The Addison management office. As of Tuesday, September 5, 2017 the office will be open Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 6:00 pm and Saturday 10:00 am - 2:00 pm additionally, we now have a new emergency line number available to our residents. Please dial (973) 919-2782. We hope the changes are beneficial to all of our residents!. As always, please contact the office with any questions or comments at 9973) 481-6544.
The landlord's website is www.addisontowers.com
Management's new emergency line is (973) 919-2782
We reordered the right column to put Management first, then the owners, then the parent company, LLC. This makes more sense.
September 7, 2017: Hallway cleaning continues. Management says they will vacuum and mop every hallway "at least 3 times a week", with the eventual intent to do it daily. This is a welcome change over Kettler.
September 3, 2017: We have updated the right column with Parent Company, LLC information for Addison Towers, LLC. Posting here as well
PARENT COMPANY LLC INFORMATION:
RJB Properties, LLC
16 Squadron Blvd, New City, NY 10956
Note: A search for this company's website turned up companies in Chicago, IL and Lincoln, RI that I believe are NOT affiliated, despite what multiple search engines say, including Yellow Pages online. That's my call, but I could be wrong.
Also located at the very same address in Rockland County is a much larger company that may be the "big money" parent company behind RJB Properties. We cannot confirm an affiliation at this time, but it's noteworthy. That company is:
Alexander Property Holdings, LLC. (unproven affiliation)
16 Squadron Blvd, New City, NY 10956
There’s lots of information on their website. They are in the exact same business as RJB Properties, and located at the same address. Hmmm >>> I wonder if there are separate offices in that building, or are they working out of the same office with the same front receptionist? That would really clinch it, I would say.
September 2, 2017: A few news items
1. The other day, all the hallways in 380 were vacuumed, and all the tile areas were mopped. Nice work. At the meeting of September 29th, the owner / owner's representative promised to have staff vacuum every hallway on a daily basis, and mop the hallway tiles regularly. And he can always pitch in himself, if they are short-staffed…lol.
We would be very happy to see the hallways cleaned once a day, but even if it's only once every couple of days, that would be a tremendous improvement over Kettler, and we could announce that the hallway cleaning issue is resolved. Kettler vacuumed less than once a month, and I don't think they mopped the tile areas in years. This forced concerned tenants to do the work instead. The problem was that not every floor had a tenant who wished to volunteer to maintain their quality of life, so some floors were much cleaner than others. I personally made sure my hallway was always the cleanest at 380.
2. I am in contact with two tenants who's leases are up on October 1st. They received the same "Notice to Quit" letter as tenants that don't have a current lease and/or went month-to-month under the prior management. Now we are wondering, is this going to be the standard treatment for every tenant when their lease is up ? Instead of being offered a lease renewal in a friendly manner, will tenants get an eviction letter?
3. The Tenant's Association will be taking a professional approach to dealing with management. An announcement is coming soon.
September 1, 2017: NEW OWNER'S CHOICE: Despite what he may feel, the new owner has nearly complete control over whether or not positive or negative news is posted on this blog. First, see the above text in purple that was added on August 30th, and will remain there: "Management has an open opportunity to provide positive news to be posted on this blog". And second, as it comes to news affecting tenants, we are just reporting the facts. The facts could be positive, or they could be negative. It all depends on what the owner does. Again, he is in total control. If he doesn't want negative news, he needs to do only good things here, and he needs to keep everything safe, clean, and orderly.
MASS EVICTION NOTICES: Now, less than 24 hours after we've given this open opportunity to the new owner to have effective control over this blog, we have to report negative news. Dozens of eviction "Notice to Quit" letters were distributed door to door. It appears that most or all of them pertain to tenants who management believes have not signed a lease within the past 12 months. Some of these tenants actually have signed leases. Others like myself are month-to-month tenants. I haven't signed a lease in at least 5 years. We are investigating the legalities of these circumstances, including month to month tenancy in New Jersey, and whether or not a landlord can force a month-to-month tenant back into an annual lease.
A valid eviction process involves a certified letter, which is typically from a law firm. Only a judge can evict a tenant. It has to go to court, and there are only a few valid reasons to evict a tenant. Nonpayment of rent is the most common one. Letters from a management office stuck in people's doors are more in the category of harassment. It is most certainly not a valid eviction process. A few links that might help
August 31, 2017: We have removed from the blog all old post prior to the change of ownership on July 17th. This has been done in order to be fair to the new owners, so that they can start with a clean slate. There is no reason for prospective tenants to see anything prior to the change in ownership. Some of the blog postings since their takeover have also been adjusted. There's a new team here, and we want to be fair to them WITHOUT COMPROMISING OUR MISSION. All major news will be documented, and management has the open opportunity to provide positive news on this blog
Another of our ongoing missions is to document everything about the properties. This mission proceeds, and I have also reorganized the right column to make information easier to find. For instance we just posted the information about the sale of the properties. It's on the blog for August 30th, and it's in the right column
August 30, 2017, evening: Every tenant in both buildings received a ledger report in the door today, outlining the current status of their account. It's impressive that management has audited and established current ledgers in such a short time. This could be a good sign, let's be positive. If there are any tenants that feel their ledgers are inaccurate, please contact the tenants association immediately at email@example.com If there's any significant trend, we certainly need to know.
We are also pleased that a notice was posted the other day on every floor of the 380 building to notify tenants that the water would be turned off from 11 AM to 1 PM. There were two plumbing trucks onsite, and important repairs were underway. We appreciate the respect given by notifying us.
August 30, 2017 PM: BUILDING SALE INFORMATION: comp_report_the_addison__1_.pdf
Sold for $26,000,000 on 7/17/2017
Sold for $24,250,000 on 12/23/2013
Sold for $10,674,545 on 1/12/2006
Sold for $4,500,000 on 3/23/2001
A research report provided by the CoStar Group today shows the following information:
The “recorded buyer” is Addison Towers, LLC
The “true buyer” is:
16 Squadron Blvd New City, NY 10956
(There is an office building at this address)
The “recorded seller” is Azure Waterford, LLC
The “true seller” is Azure Partners, LLC
The buildings sold for $26 Million on July 17th, up from $24.25 million in December, 2013. The sale does not represent a profitable business move for the former owner, Azure Waterford/Azure Partners, considering inflation and what we know was invested as a downpayment at that time (20% as per their Hardship Application). It appears that Azure wanted out after having been defeated by the Tenants Association for a Capital Improvement Surcharge in 2014 and a Hardship Application in 2016. Each loss cost them millions, and saved us millions. Now there is a new owner, presumably with an even higher mortgage, and the rent roll would only be nominally higher if all the units were rented (they are not). It's shocking to see that the buildings sold for more than in 2013, and we are trying to figure out how the new owner has a feasible business plan under the current rent structure. One change has been that they are not outsourcing management.
August 29, 2017: Several members of the current Tenants Association Executive Board and two uninvited guests dispatched by Fidelia Odutola met with the new owner and management at 7:00 PM tonite. Withholding details at this time.
August 23, 2017: A few items to add to the agenda.
1. Establishing and enforcing a noise policy.
2. Fair policy on unit transfers with the building. There should be no discrimination against a tenant who wants to downsize to a small unit, but has been late paying rent. The new rent will be lower; and the tenant is acting responsibly to control his or her costs by requesting the downsize. That unit transfer is in both parties' best interests.
August 22, 2017: There will be a meeting soon between the Executive Board of the 380-402 Tenants Association and representatives of the owners. A few things we hope to discuss:
1. Work order system
2. Staffing level; office hours; Saturday? Chain of command?
3. Security concerns; the guards, any plans by owners for changes
4. Access into apartments for emergencies or non-emergencies
5. Compliance with licensed leasing agent requirements
6. Phone system for tenant complaints or emergency calls; and the relaying of those calls to on-call persons 24/7; and response times
7. Package delivery system
8. Investigation of garbage collection system
9. Landlord Identity Disclosure act, Superintendent and Black Seal Boiler operator requirements
10. Laundry rooms; equipment issues; hours of operation
11. Handicap access, ramps
12. Gates, doors, key-FOB
13. Cleaning of hallways; repair of common area issues
14. Substantial Rehab plans / Vacancy decontrol
15. Open discussion on possible improvements / aka Major New Improvements
16. Plans for neighborhood
17. Open discussion on pet policy; Tenant's Association has always deferred to management on this; but let's discuss
We hope to be considered as consultants on these matters, and to have a positive relationship with the new owners.
August 20, 2017: post removed August 30, 2017
August 19, 2017: The Tenants Association Executive Board met tonite. We hope to meet with the new owner soon, and we're making a list of concerns to address. A newsletter is coming soon.
August 14, 2017: We wish to kindly advise the new owner that management does not have the right to enter into a tenant's unit without permission, unless there is a building emergency. For instance, there could be a broken pipe that is flooding units below, and to access that apartment to fix that problem is clearly a building emergency. The Tenants Association would like management to give written notice, in advance, of the desire to enter into a unit for an issue that is not an emergency. Any widespread inspection events should be posted by notice in every hallway. Note: This concern is raised due to a problem at another property, 425 Mount Prospect Ave.
August 12, 2017: A concerned resident in 380 is asking the Tenants Association for several things
1. To investigate the functionality of the ventilation system.
2. To investigate the results of the state DOC inspection of the buildings a few months ago. The new management is saying the building passed 100% and there are no violations. Those of us in the know find this to be incredulous. We'll have to order copies of these inspection reports.
3. To further research the new ownership. A full title search might be necessary. The anonymous resident provided another LLC name that he believes is connected with our owner and/or our building. There is another name identified, which is Yechiel Newhouse.
August 9, 2017: Jay Newhouse of Addison Towers, LLC has reached out to us. There will be a meeting of the Tenant's Association Executive Board with senior management.
August 6, 2017: CIVIC SUMMIT The Citizen Campaign had it's annual Summit yesterday in New Brunswick. The Civic Trusts from Newark, Perth Amboy, Trenton, and Plainfield met and strategized. There were various seminars, on topics such as Boards of Education, Navigating Political Obstacles to Advance Solutions, and a Media Literacy session which taught how to recognize "fake news" being put forth by Republican or Democratic operatives. In recent years, the use of memes has become very strong. In this case, the news is condensed into a sound-bite or picture that conveys only a tiny fraction of information. This is leading to the polarization of our society.
All the media attention on housing matters in Newark is bearing fruit. There is now strong movement towards The Citizens Campaign entering the fray on gentrification in Newark, and addressing all the housing-related concerns, including rent control, code enforcement, and inclusionary zoning. "Be relentless, but not blame", said Pozycki. "If you stay respectful and keep coming at them, you'll wear them down," he added. Pozycki stressed the need for announcing any major initiative to elected officials before starting it, to put them on notice and let them feel they are being respected. Elected officials hate to be surprised or blind-sided.
Newark Tenants United looks forward to their strong support on the next Rent Control Ballot Initiative. The current initiative is still moving forwards, but it only addresses a subset of needed reforms.
There's a group in Plainfield called The Civic Formation which specializing in lawsuits against landlords and other parties. This group also says that the purchase of private apartment buildings very often involves a State or Federal subsidy, and with that subsidy comes a whole set of legal obligations. There are various programs, and each has it's own regulations. We're told that this is true even for apartment buildings that are not HUD-subsidized. This is a whole new area of research for us, and a potential avenue of attack.
August 5, 2017: PARENT COMPANY INFO OF ADDISON TOWERS, LLC. The last tenant you would imagine has researched who purchased our building, and provided us the information. We are withholding her name, as she values her privacy. Thanks greatly. Our new owner is RJ Block Properties, located in NYC. Each building they own and manage is it's own Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). This is standard practice in the industry. Management will tell you the buildings are owned by Addison Towers, LLC. What really matters is the parent company. We have it.
We believe with a very high degree of certainty that this is the same RJ Block Properties (located in New York) that owns Parkwood Place, which is located on Mount Prospect Ave literally next door to The Addison. It is not the RJ Block Properties that owns 814-816 Clinton Ave in Newark. Yes, there are TWO companies called RJ Block Properties that own apartment buildings in Newark. One is African-American and based in New Jersey, and the other is Jewish and based in New York. We believe that they are not affiliated. Note 8/30/2017: Our owner is definitely the RJ Block Properties from New York.
Article in costar.com on Sale of The Addison 7/25/2017 costar.com article
The same source, costar.com, published a similar article in 2014 on the sale of Parkwood Place to RJ Block Properties 2014 costar.com article on Parkwood Place
One source has the following contact information for RJ Properties:
7 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
Jay Newhouse appears to be the Principle
Yehuda Nehoff is in charge of Acquistions for RJ Block properties (link disabled within 24 hours of us posting it)
August 4, 2017: The new management hasn't yet had the chance to evaluate security, and reign in on any problems. The following complaint was emailed to us by a concerned tenant at 380:
FYI: The same security guard that was seen recently sitting outside with the lobby doors left wide open and also recently seen smoking a large hookah outside while on duty at 380 from 3:00 pm - 11:00 pm, was seen today at 5:00 pm sitting inside a car stationed just outside our lobby eating in the car with a woman instead of sitting in the lobby and doing his job. This is also the same security guard that our previous manager (Nina P. Davis) told him that he is supposed to be inside watching the cameras, etc. Most of the time, this is all happening while the office is closed after 5:00 p.m so I guess no one has called the office about this. He is the only security guard that is behaving in this manner and getting away with it. The office needs to know that this is happening on the 3pm-11:00 pm shift. I don't know the security guard's name but management should do something about this. This is unbelievable...
We kindly and respectfully ask that management address this situation with Sterling. We don't post every complaint, but in this case she isn't the only one complaining about this to the Tenants Association. In fairness to Sterling Security, most of their guards are very good, and overall this has been the best security company that we've had. The Tenants Association recommended bringing them onboard in 2012, and they were finally hired just a few years ago. We want Sterling to remain our security company. They are tight with the Newark police and they patrol up and down Mount Prospect Avenue for the Mount Prospect Business Improvement District, which means their eyes see a bit wider, and there's backup in the event of an emergency. Previous security companies here included Fidelis and Premiere.
AUGUST 2, 2017: REPORT ON NEW MANAGEMENT. I met this afternoon with the new management. Addison Towers, LLC will be managing the buildings directly. There will be no outside managing company to replace Kettler. They promise to be on top of all maintenance issues, and are gathering information from tenants.
Our conversation included a 15-minute discussion on their desire to upscale the buildings and increase the rents 20% on all vacant units, by taking advantage of the vacancy decontrol provisions, aka "substantial rehabilitation" in the March 2017 rent control ordinance. (Note 8/30/2017: this is being rolled back by the Rent Control Ballot Initiative) Some more details:
1. "Jay" manages several buildings, and will be here onsite on an irregular and "as need" basis. He is talkative, and well versed in the standard landlord philosophical arguments against Rent Control. He strongly wants to have a positive relationship with the tenants here. Congratulations to our former Leasing Agent, Bebe, who has been promoted. She will be the manager for our two buildings. They are interviewing candidates for her assistant. They did not want me to announce Bebe's promotion on the blog, instead preferring to have a direct relationship with the tenants. I respectfully declined, as this is basic information that tenants deserve to know. Another man, also wearing a yamika, stood watching and said nothing.
2. The staff level for the maintenance crew has been an issue here for years. Jay would not commit to any permanent level, although they hope to bring on at least one additional person. He was clear that their goal is to get the buildings running at a low level of problems; in which they will maintain only as many maintenance staff as needed.
3. They want to improve the building, have things nice, and attract a "good quality tenant base". I immediately countered that we have good tenants here now. Jay said he's met many tenants already, and acted surprised at his own observations that we "have pretty good tenants here."
4. Jay wants to take full advantage of the March, 2017 change to the Newark Rent Control Ordinance which allows management to increase the rent on a vacant unit 20% if they spend the equivalent of 8 months rent on repairs. This is one of the primary aspects of their business plan, to get the rents higher. This is the substantial rehabilitation "vacancy decontrol" clause that we fought and tried to stop. I didn't have the heart to tell him that the Rent Control Ballot Initiative will dramatically change that equation, and make it much harder to hit the numbers. He attempted to engage me in a philosophical discussion about how increasing rents poses no harm to existing tenants. I declined.
5. Addison Towers has a new policy on dogs and pets. They are reverting to the 20 lb. rule under previous managements. Kettler was allowing dogs of any size, and/or not enforcing any pet size policy.
6. They are considering reactivating the trash compactors to eliminate the odors associated with the trash closets and the whole scene of staff having to drag bags of garbage into the elevators. They want to encourage tenants to increase recycling as part of this change.
7. They are considering centralizing the security, and erecting a free-standing security booth to be placed at the entrance to the 380 driveway. This would be in conjunction with improved security cameras and going to a key-fob system for all entry doors and gates. Nobody would be able to enter the property without passing the guard and showing an ID. There would be no guard in the lobby at all. I told him that the former security building was torn down because it was built without permits and inspections. I was clear that the vast majority of tenants want the 24/7 security guards inside the lobbies, which is definitely not going to happen. They feel the priority is creating a security perimeter, and that a gated community will be more desirable. The plan under consideration involves a key-fob operated gate of some sort near the entrance of the 402 driveway. For this to work, it's going to have to be a sliding or roll-up gate, not something that can be hopped over.
8. We might have to wait until the purchase information reaches PropertyShark to find out the purchase price and who is the parent LLC and/or Managing Member of the LLC. They are not revealing this information at this time. He said firmly and absolutely that they have no affiliation with Azure, and that they are in fact the new owners. We'll take this at face value, knowing full well that former manager Jude Mason said the exact same thing from 2011 to 2013, and it was all a lie. One thing for sure, Addison Towers LLC is not a stand-alone organization. He described there are multiple investors involved, which came together to finance this purchase. These same investors surely have other LLCs, and more than likely a parent organization. I know this for sure because he talked about other properties that he manages in New York City and New Jersey. We'll find out this information one way or another.
JULY 31, 2017: post removed 8/30
JULY 29, 2017: post removed 8/30
JULY 24, 2017: Now that Nina Parker-Davis is no longer the Property Manager, the Sterling Security guards have become very lax. They are leaving the inner and outer entry doors wide open, and they are often sitting outside instead of in the lobby looking at the security cameras.
JULY 21, 2017: All 220 units at The Addison at 380 and 402 Mount Prospect Ave received a letter in the doors today stating that there was a change in ownership yesterday, and the new owner is Addison Towers, LLC. Here's a snipet from their letter
"As new owners, we will work hard to meet and exceed your expectations, and strive to provide the quality of life you are looking for. Over the coming year, we will look to add improvements to the property and seek your suggestions for reasonable and positive change. Please do let us know if you have any ideas, or just stop by the office to say hello! We look forward to getting to know each of your personally and are confident you will be very happy with this new change."
They can start with the air conditioning at 402 Mount Prospect, which has been down for YEARS, and then move forward with restoring 24/7 security guard / conceirge service in each lobby. We do have 2/47 security, but the guard rotates back and forth between the lobbies, spending about 75% of the time at 380 (including sitting out front instead of watching the security cameras) and 25% at 402.
OLDER POSTS HAVE BEEN ARCHIVED
ADDISON HOME PAGE
Considering moving here ? We have new owners and managers which took over at the end of July, 2017. They are still filling positions and assessing the tenant's needs. Read more…. Considering moving here
The Addison, aka Addison Towers, is located at 380 Mount Prospect Avenue and 402 Mount Prospect Avenue in Newark, New Jersey. Former names include Mount Prospect Tower, Abington Tower, and Mount Prospect Towers.
1. Management's new emergency line is (973) 919-2782
2. The management office number remains (973) 481-6544
3. The landlord's website is www.addisontowers.com
4. Management's email is firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Management's address is: Addison Towers, LLC
402 Mount Prospect Avenue, Suite LB2
Newark, NJ 07104
Profile for our rental property on Realtor.com
Aerial photo of The Addison
RJ Block Properties is self-managing the building. There is no equivalent to Kettler, which is an outside company. Jay Newhouse is also personally involved with management, much more so than any prior owner.
PROPERTY MANAGER: Bebe Enteine, who was previously the leasing agent, is now the Property Manager. She is also the first property manager since 2011 to live onsite. This is a plus, as our quality of life is also her quality of life. We respect her privacy, and we are not posting her address.
LEASING AGENT: A leasing agent has been hired.
ONSITE SUPERINTENDANTS (required by law in the City of Newark to live in the building. Must also be registered with the city):
Building #380: Jason Pena. Lives in Unit 4F
Building #402: none.
ONSITE BLACK-SEAL CERTIFIED BOILER OPERATORS: (required by law in the City of Newark)
Bldg 380: Jeyson Pena
Bldg 402: None
Of note, management claims these buildings are one property, and only require one Superintendent and one Black Seal Boiler Operator, and this is all the same person. We dispute the "one property" claim.
BUILDING SALE & DEED INFORMATION:
Article dated July 20, 2017, on the sale of our buildings
Sale of our buidlings
Article in costar.com on Sale of The Addison 7/25/2017 costar.com article
Our owner also owns Parkwood Place, which is next door 2014 costar.com article on Parkwood Place
Detailed CoStar fact sheet for the $26 Million sale on July 17, 2017: comp_report_the_addison__1_.pdf
DEED: The deed was prepared on July 20, 2017 by Joshua Mermelstein, Esq. According to the Deed itself, the property ownership is divided as follows:
- 71.875% = Addison Towers, LLC
P.O. Box 268, Pomona, NY 10970
- 28.125% - NG Realty Holding, LLC
1030 N. University Drive
Nacogdoches, TX 75961
No need to go down to the County Hall of Records to research the deed. It's public information, and we have it posted here Addison Towers, LLC 2017 deed
OUR OWNER #1:
The landlord's website is www.addisontowers.com
Per the Deed, Addison Towers, LLC owns 71.875% of the investment. Addison Towers, LLC is part of RJ Block Properties, LLC
The “recorded buyer” is Addison Towers, LLC
The “true buyer” is:
16 Squadron Blvd New City, NY 10956
(There is an office building at this address)
Another source has the following contact information for RJ Block Properties:
7 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009
Jay Newhouse is the Principle
Yehuda Nehoff is in charge of Acquistions for RJ Block properties (link was disabled within 24 hours of us posting it)
Another name associated with our property is Yechiel Newhouse, who is registered as the "Managing member", which means he is in charge of the LLC. We have every reason to believe that "Jay" is a nickname for Yechiel, and it's all the same person. If any further information comes to light on the ownership, we will post. If there is a parent company to RJ Block, we will post that as well. Jay Newhouse says he personally is not the owner or principle. However, various sources including costar.com record him as the "true buyer".
PARENT COMPANY LLC INFORMATION:
The parent company of RJ Block Properties is:
RJB Properties, LLC
16 Squadron Blvd, New City, NY 10956
This is the actual physical address, it is an office bldg.
Another address more commonly used on their legal documents, to be more anonymous, is P.O. Box 605, Pomona, NY 10970
The State ID of RJ Block Properties is 3168205
Date Filed: Feb 23, 2005
Note: A search for this company's website turned up companies in Chicago, IL and Lincoln, RI that I believe are NOT affiliated, despite what multiple search engines say, including Yellow Pages online.
Also located at the very same address in Rockland County is a much larger company that may be the "big money" parent company behind RJB Properties. We cannot confirm an affiliation at this time, but it's noteworthy.
Alexander Property Holdings, LLC. (possible affiliation)
16 Squadron Blvd, New City, NY 10956
There’s lots of information on their website. They are in the exact same business as RJB Properties, and located at the same address. Hmmm. I wonder if there are separate offices in that building, or are they working out of the same office with the same front receptionist?
State ID: 4664638
Date Filed: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
OUR OWNER #2:
Per the Deed, NG Realty Holding, LLC owns 28.125% of the property. NG Realty Holding, LLC is located at: 1030 N. University Drive, Nacogdoches, TX 75961
The principle officer of this LLC is also Yechiel Newhouse.
An LLC flow chart shows the relationship of NG Realty Holdings, LLC to Yechiel Newhouse and 3 other LLC's
NG Realty LLC flow chart
MORTGAGE INFORMATION: Pending
INSURANCE INFORMATION: Pending
STERLING SECURITY: This company was hired 10/18/15 by Kettler Management. This happened concurrently with the downscaling of 24/7 security in each building to shared security. Our new owners are still using Sterling:
839 N. 6th Street, Newark, NJ 07107
Gary Boothe, owner
Management's towing company: pending
Newark Police's Towing Company = B & C Towing
LINKS & COMMUNITY GROUPS:
(Click here to see Eyewitness News Clip) news report on Heat Wave and AC issue, July 2011.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LwuInts4LA Eric Martindale (380 Mt. Prospect) at Feb 16, 2012 Newark City Council Meeting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-sVfkCn20A: Jama Bridges (380 Mt. Prospect) at Feb 16, 2012 Newark City Council Meeting
March 10, 2008 storm damage photo 1 photo 2
he New Jersey Apartment Association, which pushes for landlord rights. See what they are up to www.njaa.com
FOREST HILL COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION
This is a trendy progressive-minded organization with a distinct focus on developing a sense of community in the neighborhood. They generally cover from 2nd Ave to Montclair Ave, and from Mt. Prospect Ave to Branch Brook Park, which is approximately the boundaries of the Forest Hill Historic District
OTHER COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS
Mt. Prospect Partnership (business district)
International Youth Organization
La Casa De Don Pedro
North Ward Center
TOURISM, SPORTS, ARTS, & DINING
NJ Tourism Guide
Cathedral Basilica of Sacred Heart (open every day for visitors to tour inside)
Ironbound Tourism Guide (for the Portuguese & Brazilian part of Newark)
Hackensack Riverkeeper (boat tours of the Meadowlands and Newark riverfront)
Zagat Dining Guide for Newark
Tourist Guide for Newark
Newark Museum (well worth visiting)
NJ Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)
Newark Symphony Hall
NEWARK CITY AND LOCAL NEWS
Bus & Rail Transit options
Newark Dog Ordinance
Newark Security Guard Ordinance
NJ Historical Society
Weather information (type zip code and any date)
Weather - Hurricanes
2ND PRECINCT COUNCIL
This is a citizen's advisory group that meets with the 2nd Precinct Captain and other officers of the Newark Police at 6:30 PM on the 3rd Tuesday of every month at the 2nd Precinct Station, 1 Lincoln Ave (@ Broadway), Newark, NJ. The 2nd Precinct covers a huge area from Central Ave to the Belleville border, including the North Ward, almost half of the Central Ward, and portions of the West Ward. www.newarkpdonline.org/nixle/php
www.crimereports.com Type in any address and see a map with symbols depicting reported crimes in the area. You can narrow the search by changing the date range, scrolling in or out on the map, or selecting a police sector. This information is EMPOWERING.
NEW JERSEY TENANTS ORGANIZATION (NJTO)
This is our parent organization
Address: Ft. Lee, NJ
President: Matthew Shapiro
VP: Mitch Kahn
HALL OF FAME --- archives
ARCHIVES OF BUILDING OWNERS
- The Krumps (original builders, owned till around 1999 - 2000) They sold the swimming pool for construction of the school rear building, and then sold both buildings
- Praedium Group. Unsure who were their 1st and 2nd managing partners. Praedium is believed to have purchased 100% interest in 1999 or 2000. They are a notorious slumlord operation in NYC, involved with dozens of more properties in NYC
- Audubon Communities (2006 - July 2011) (Believed to be the 3rd managing partner for Praedium Group) Believed to have owned 10% - 15%. Charles Reyher 2012 Lawsuit
- RapAd Management; Paramus, NJ. (final managing partner with Praedium Group) Purchased management interest only, believed to be about 10% - 15%, in July, 2011. They never owned 100%, despite all their claims to that effect (July 2011 - Dec, 2013)
- Azure Waterford, LLC; NY, NY - purchased 100% interest from RapAd and Praedium Group. Dec, 2013 - present
Archives of Property Managers
- Eleanor Puccariello (several decades, and still resides in 380, 14E)
- Priscilla Dickerson
- An Italian woman (does anyone remember her name)
- Mellissa Bailey
- Debra Morgan (several years)
- Mark (African-American man)
- a young Latino woman (name ?) AUDUBON
- Leslie Rodriguez (2006 till March 2008)
- Trudy Kellett (March 2008 - Dec 2008)
- Cheryl Cook (Dec 2008 - July 2009)
- Cynthia Gainous (July 2009 - Feb 2010)
- Jaime Mejia (Feb 2010 - Sept 2011)
- Jude Mason (Sept 2011 - Fall 2012) RAPAD
- Necker Jean (Fall 2012 - March 2014) RAPAD - KETTLER
- Vonetta Mitchell (April 2014 - current KETTLER
- Nina Parker-Davis (2016 - July 2017)
- Bebe Enteine (August 2017 - current)
Note that Vonetta is the first property manager to survive more than 2 years in at least a decade.
Archives of Leasing Agents:
- Crystal (2008)
- Maythe Valerde (Feb 2010 - July 2011) This was Jaime Mejia's partner
- Sherese Smith (July 2011 - August 2011)
- Lisa Vandenberg (late Aug, 2011 - November 2012)
- a latino woman
- Darice Owens (March, 2014 - early 2015)
- Amy Knable (early 2015 )
xz1' ÷≥x - Bebe Enteine
Archives of Superintendants at 380 - "Peace" (1994? - early 2007). He really knew the boiler system. Fired by Leslie
- Joshua Figueroa (Summer, 2007 -2008). Hired by Leslie - Alberto F. Hernandez (2008). Hired by Leslie. - Stephen Lewis (2009). Hired by Cheryl. - Anthony Lee-Pow (2009). Hired by Cheryl. - Ronald Gainous (Summer 2009- Oct 2010). Hired by Cynthia, fired by Jaime. Knew the boilers, re-routed F-riser in 380
- None (Oct 2010 - Feb 2011)
- Jorge (Feb 2011 - Oct 2011) hired by Jaime.
- None (Oct, 2011 - )
- Jeyson Pena - present (covers both buildings)
Archives of Superintendants at 402 - Jose Reyes (over 10 years, until Feb 2010, relocated to Belleville). Also knew the boiler system well. - Ivan Gonzales (2010) Hired by Jaime
- Freddy (2011) Hired by Jaime, quit.
- Armondo (2011) Hired by Jaime;
- Rickie (2011) Hired by RapAd
Archives of Security Companies and Security Ordinance:
- 1961 - April 1, 2007: Management direct employees placed as guards in each lobby. Untrained and unsupervised. They were believed to be paid minimum wage, or not more than $8 an hour.
April 1, 2007 - May 15, 2009: On 4/1/07, with zero advance notice to the tenants, guard desks and the guards were removed from the lobbies and instead there was one guard in the outside security guard booth at the entrance to the 380 driveway. This saved $8/hr x 24 hours x 365 days = $70,080 annually. The guards hated being in the booth. They had zero interaction with tenants and didn't monitor cars coming either. They had only a few cameras to watch. We didn't know who they were, and they didn't know who we were.
The tenants formed the 380-402 Tenants Association in response to this. 29 units went on rent strike starting August 2007. The strike was ended Feb 2008. Over $200,000 was held in escrow. Tenants began working with Councilman Anibal Ramos on a new Security Guard Ordinance. It was introduced, but not passed twice due to strong opposition from landlords as well as the Newark HUD Tenants Organization, which was fooled by landlords into thinking it would cause their HUD tenants a rent increase.
April, 2009: Security guard ordinance sponsored by Councilman Anibal Ramos at the request of the 380-402 Tenants Association passes. It contains the words "in the lobbies" for buildings over 100 units. The ordinance also requires that buildings hire security guard companies with officers trained to State SORA standards, instead of untrained folks off the street. The ordinance also required that 8 hours a day must be an armed guard, which costs even more.
The regular SORA guards were believed to cost management $16 an hour. The guards made about $8 or $9 an hour, and the balance was profit for the security guard company. The ordinance goes into effect May 15, 2009. The 380-402 Tenants Association tells management (Audubon) that a new rent strike will be organized starting June 1st if there are no guards in the lobbies on May 15th.
May 15, 2009 - September 30, 2011. Fidelis Security. 24/7 Guards restored to lobbies, with new guard desks. The company chosen was Fidelis, 24/7 guards restored to each lobby. Management was not in compliance with the armed guards clause, but the quality of Fidelis was so poor that the thought of their employees having guns on them was terrifying. Tenants chose not to pursue enforcement.
2011, date uncertain. A new security guard ordinance is passed, and nobody tells the tenant leaders. Councilman Ramos allows to pass revisions of the security guard ordinance that removed the critical words "in the lobbies" that were added in 2009. The new ordinance had much more extensive requirements for security cameras. Management (Audubon), knowing the history of tenant activism, chooses not to battle the tenants again by removing the guards
date uncertain. Sterling Security is hired by the Mount Prospect Partnership to patrol up and down Mt. Prospect Avenue.
Oct 1, 2011 - Oct. 18, 2014 Premiere Security. The new management, RapAd, was asked by the tenants association to choose Sterling Security because they patrol the street. The tenants met with Sterling, and then Sterling met with management and made a proposal. Instead, Premiere Security was chosen based on price. They were one step better than Fidelis.
Summer, 2014: At the advise of legal counsel, the news reaches tenants that the owners (Azure), plan to remove the security guards from both lobbies again. Tenants complain to Councilman Ramos and code enforcement. Newark decides to enforce an outstanding violation, that the guard booth was built without permits and inspections. Management decides not to fight it, that the guard booth will be torn down. It was torn down on _______
Oct 18, 2014 - present Sterling Security takes over, but at the same time they go from two guards to one guard. the one guard rotates back and forth between the buildings every 15 or 30 minutes.
Archives of Tenants Association Chairs:
- Libre' Jones (May, 2007 - Nov 2008)
- Eric Martindale (Nov, 2008 - Dec, 2009)
- Sam Delgado (Dec, 2009 - Oct, 2010)
- Dawn Vasquez (Oct, 2010 - Oct, 2011)
- Carol Harris (Oct, 2011 - April, 2013)
- none (April, 2013 - Dec, 2013)
- Fidelia N. Uzoukwu-Odutola (Dec, 2013 - May, 2016)
Archives of Paint Codes:
In late March, 2016, the 380 lobby was repainted. All colors are Benjamin Moore, purchased at Rossi Paint at Main Street & Scotland Road in Orange, NJ 973-672-3339
LIGHT PEACH is "Peach Melba", #078, Latex Semigloss Enamel
base = 283-1B Super Hide BM02831B005
MEDIUM PEACH is "Daytona Peach", #079, Latex Semigloss Enamel
base = 283-1B Super Hide BM02831B005
DOORS & MOLDINGS= "Tuscany", color #1208
base = Ultra Spec; Maintenance Coatings; DTM Acryllic; Semi-gloss enamel Base 3 HP29-3X
Note: 9/3/2014: purple text to be moved elsewhere
CODE ENFORCEMENT APPROACH: The organization has determined that one critical way to advance our specific agenda is by making the appropriate contacts at Newark City Hall and cause the city to enforce the law. This can also be done anonymously. As of March 21, 2008, the primary focus of tenant activities will be on the city level. It is important for tenants to understand this. As a result of this approach, management was found GUILTY on July 31, 2008 of the existing security guard ordinance. That's why there is now an armed guard working the overnight shift in the guard booth. When we ask that tenants make phone calls to city hall, to send letters or emails, or to attend a city council meeting, it must happen. As of August 2008, we now have cooperation with Newark Code Enforcement, and they are taking a more comprehensive approach. *
In October, 2008, we realized that much more serious focus must also be made on the State level. There are State codes that all buildings have to follow. These codes regulate staffing levels for maintenance people, requirements for Black-Seal certified boiler persons, etc. It would be great if there was a tenant organization in New Jersey that has already compiled and posted this information online, including phone numbers and contact names of persons on the State level who can assist. If this important document already exists we haven't found it yet. Some effort will be made by contacting the Department of Community Affairs and the Attorney General's office to gather this information, and seek their cooperation in enforcement. We also have a State Senator and two State Assemblypersons who could potentially assist us with this.
HOW A RENT STRIKE WORKS Note 3/26/2008: The advise to any readers from other complexes is that a rent strike is the absolute last resort. The primary focus of tenant organizing should be to get the city or town to bear down upon management and enforce any and all laws, rules, and regulations. This section contains general information on how to conduct a rent strike. It does not contain information about any one particular rent strike. Rent strikes are entirely legal in the State of New Jersey. Those participating in a rent strike are individually protected by the laws of the State of New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2A:42-10.10) against threats of eviction or any other reprisals by management. A rent strike is similar to the bulk rents, except this time the organization keeps the money in escrow in a Tenant's Association bank account instead of writing a bulk check to management. Instead of paying rent to management, checks are written to the Tenant Association, and put the month of the rent and your unit number in the lower left corner. The Tenant's Association will send a CERTIFIED letter to management detailing the reasons for initiating a rent strike. This is the procedure of the NJTO; this has been done many times in New Jersey. Rents collected by a Tenant’s Association are held in escrow in the organization’s bank account. Residents cannot legally participate in a rent strike without paying rent, and having it held in escrow by the Tenant’s Association. It is advised that residents also be registered members of a Tenant's Association. The matter will quickly wind up in court by action of management, and each tenant will receive individual notification to appear in Court. When the court date is held, the organization's leaders (or attorney if any) will advise that the money is being held in an escrow account. It is extremely important that all tenant's checks have CLEARED in the organization's bank account. The organization must come with it's checkbook and be ready to write a check to the court. Typically in a rent strike, the court holds the money. Then in subsequent months of the rent strike, checks will be written to "Treasury, State of New Jersey" and put the docket number in the lower left corner, with your name, the month of rent, and unit number. If the Tenant's Association has a lawyer, expect the rent strike to go on for many months.
The following is quoted directly from the New Jersey Tenants Organizing Handbook regarding the Tenant Non-Reprisal Law (N.J.S.A. 2A:42-10.10) “This law prohibits landlords from retaliating against tenants for organizing or joining a tenants organization, or making good faith complaints to the landlord of public official about a landlord’s violation of health and safety codes. Tenants can sue landlords who violate this law for civil damages”. There have been several constitutional challenges to this law, and the law has been repeatedly upheld.
We also want dual posting in the building lobbies of the Superintendant's name, Unit #, cell phone number, and Black Seal Certification number. Residents in each building need to know the information for both building Superintendants.
UNIT UPGRADES Any long-term tenants seeking to relocate to a fully upgraded unit are encouraged to apply. Upgraded units have new kitchen cabinets, new kitchen appliances, new tile floors, new carpeting, and are freshly painted. The tenant will have to pay the established rent of the new unit, which could be higher or lower. This is something to request directly to management, and then cc: to us. A maximum of two transfers per month can be scheduled. The fee is $200.
PIGEON CONTROL --- HOW TO RECLAIM YOUR BALCONIES FOR HUMAN USE The higher units had severe pigeon problems. Ms. Silva of 444 Mt. Prospect Avenue was responsible for feeding over 300 pigeons at the corner of Mt. Prospect and Abington. This is why so many pigeons were roosting and resting on our balconies. Management of Wesley Towers has previously threatened her with eviction and taken her to court to try to stop her. These efforts were unsuccessful. Health Dept officials confronted Ms. Silva in June 2007 and explained to her that pigeons carry disease and despoil property with their droppings. They threatened her with arrest if she is caught doing it. She has been in and out of court on this issue, and all efforts to evict her have failed. Pigeon feeding and pigeon roosting on our buildings are both dramatically down in 2008. There are three proven solutions to eliminating pigeons. (1) At your request, pigeons can be 100% eliminated by installing fine fish netting over your balconies, and Maintenance staff will install at your request. (2) Another effective solution is to install 2' high 1"-hex wire mesh (from Home Depot or Lowes) around the bottom of the balcony railing by using cable ties. Use the thinest metal version available, not green or orange plastic which looks unsightly when looking up at the building. Then use cable ties to attach plastic pigeon spikes to your railing (www.northerntool.com, item # 168357). This is 99% effective, and also prevents kids from climbing on the railings. Some say this is the preferred alternative because fishnets affect your view. (3) Aggressively scaring them away, without striking or injuring them, really does work. Residents have been swinging brooms and tennis rackets, or even charging at them while waving arms and yelling. Individual birds who think in their own bird brain that they just narrowly escape death DO NOT come back. The closer and more aggressive your attack is, the more effective. Starting around March of every year, birds begin pairing off and looking for nest sites where they won't be disturbed. Therefore, make sure you disturb them. They'll find somewhere else to nest. Leaving your blinds open most of the time will keep them off the window sills because they don't want to be watched. If you are on the 4th floor or higher, nobody can see into your apartment. There is no reason to have mini-blinds drawn closed 24/7 all year long. Fake owls and ultrasound devices are total failures, don't waste your money.