Urban American In the News

In the housing boom of 2006-2007, Urban American spent hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing buildings in various run-down neighborhoods in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. This New York Observer article from May 2007 details the buying of several Harlem buildings for $940 million. Only one week later, as detailed by another New York Observer article, Urban American purchased over 2,000 units in Brooklyn and Queens from the LeFrak organization. Currently, they are said to own anywhere from 13,000 to 18,000 units depending on the source.

Here are some articles from the past few years detailing Urban American’s management practices, listed in descending chronological order:

“The heat is on… or is it? Advocate threatens rent strike; management co. claims problems are fixed” by Dylan M. Archilla for the Hudson Reporter, February 7th, 2003.
“Complaints of lack of heat, hot water, and lack of water” leads tenants in an Urban American owned complex in Union City, New Jersey, to threaten a rent strike.

“Local Tenants Protest Urban American Management” by Annmarie Fertoli for the Queens Chronicle, April 24th, 2008. “Housing advocates and tenants from four Woodside and Sunnyside buildings gathered on Skillman Avenue Thursday to protest what they called a series of abuses under current owner Urban American Management.”

‘We want to be treated like human beings.’ said Mahboobur Rahman, a resident of the building on 45th Street.He added that his family has experienced significant water damage in their apartment, as well as unexplained late fees on recent bills.

Joseph Ferdinand, a tenant advocate from the Bronx, represents Urban American tenants living in buildings in that borough. He said the group has benefited from working together to voice their concerns. ‘Psychologically, they’re trying to get people out of their apartments,’ Ferdinand said of the management company, adding that it is trying to eliminate rent control.

“Eviction Anxiety Rattles a Formerly Subsidized Upper Manhattan Building “ by Timothy Williams for the New York Times, October 15th, 2008.

Select quotes from the article: “Mr. Outlaw is among hundreds of residents at 3333 Broadway — which until three years ago was in the state’s Mitchell-Lama program for moderate-income housing but is now charging market-rate rents — who say the new owner is systematically harassing them in hopes of replacing them with higher-paying tenants.

‘They’re doing different things to get people out,’ said Mr. Outlaw, who has not fully recovered from bypass surgery after a heart attack three years ago. ‘Scare tactics, I call them. People are scared to complain.’

Thursday, a group led by the Legal Aid Society of New York plans to file a class-action suit in State Supreme Court in Manhattan against the building’s owner. The group argues that a provision requiring that the property remain dedicated to low- and moderate-income housing had been removed recently without proper public notice, contributing to the efforts to force residents out.”

“Meanwhile, even tenants who do not face eviction have complaints: The building has 410 unresolved code violations, including mice, mold, broken windows and water leaks, according to city Department of Housing Preservation and Development records”

“East Harlem Affordable Housing Changes Cause Tension” by Alizah Salario for Neighborhood Beatbox, December 29th, 2009. This article expounds upon the conditions at 3333 Broadway. ‘I have to beg for my home to be kept and maintained in good condition. Why should I have to go through that?’ she [resident Myra Santana] said.”

“Major multi-family landlord sues HPD over Section 8 increases” by Adam Pincus for The Real Deal, December 31st, 2009. Urban American, upset that they could not raise rents on low-income families receiving section 8 assistance by as much as 23%, sued the Department of Housing Preservation and Development in retaliation.

“Gentrification Hangover” by Alyssa Katz for the American Prospect, January 6th, 2010.

Select quote: “The windows, original to the building, bring in energy-sucking drafts, but Urban American won’t replace them. A former community room now serves as storage for appliances, and the hall outside smells of urine. Tenants buy their own bathroom fixtures at Home Depot because the standard-issues don’t work. A fire last year killed an autistic teen. ‘The issue is not that they’re incompetent slumlords,’ says Benjamin Dulchin, executive director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development. ‘These are the most sophisticated managers in New York City real estate, and it’s their sophistication that makes them dangerous.

For even more articles and quotes, go to “More on Urban American in the news”.

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2 Responses to “Urban American In the News”

  1. Completely Disgusted May 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    Urban American is indeed a slumlord with a slum mentality. They actually love the slum condition because this moves to the tune of who they are. They love it, they prey upon it, they hire people with the slum mentality, they hire people from the slums. They need to be slumlords because they do not fit anywhere else. The owners have titles and obviously a little money and it ends there.

    I have always considered Urban American Management to be a mutt company trying to run in the same race with genuine real estate thoroughbreds!

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  1. These are real – and illegal – problems. « Slumlord Millionaires - July 27, 2011

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