In an item that belongs in the “Only in New York” column, the NY Post reports that a caretaker is laying claim to a deceased couple’s $291 per month, three bedroom, rent controlled apartment even though the caretaker resides in a $747 per month rent controlled studio in Gramercy Park.
You can’t blame the caretaker for trying to improve her situation – after all, if she is successful, she could legally rent out extra bedrooms for a tidy profit—but you would think her chances of success were slim. However, the City’s courts have ruled, in certain circumstances, that rent stabilized tenants may lay claim to more than one apartment so, you never know. This is New York City, after all.
– Jack Freund, Executive Vice President, Rent Stabilization Association
(Views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the RSA.)
Caretaker fights for $291-a-month rent-controlled pad
By LORENA MONGELLI and JENNIFER GOULD KEIL
An East Village woman claims she can take over a $291-per-month rent-controlled three-bedroom apartment because she tended to its two elderly inhabitants for four years — even though she’s not related to them.
Now the landlord is trying to boot her.
Margaret Hearn, 48, began living at 345 E. 12th St. in 2008, when she became a full-time caretaker for sisters Margaret and Josephine Ruta, whom she met at church.
Josephine died in March. Margaret died last year.
When Hearn returned from Josephine’s funeral, the apartment was padlocked. Her brother cut the lock, and she has moved in.
“I was emotional. I had just been to a funeral, and I felt I was losing it, and this happened,” Hearn said, adding the landlord “wants to remodel the apartment and charge more.”
Similar pads in the building go for $4,400 in rent.
Hearn — who also keeps a rent-controlled $747-a-month studio in Gramercy Park — says the landlord, 339-347 East 12th Street Investor LLC, filed to evict her in May 2012.
Phillip Wartell, a lawyer for the landlord, did not return calls.
Source: New York Post