N.Y.C. – State Attorney General Letitia James recently shared the news that she had successfully collected approximately $420,000 from two Brooklyn landlords who had been operating an unlawful SRO rental business out of the 881 Condominium in the Sunset Park area of Brooklyn.
Ray Qi Wang Huang, Bao Qing Tang, and their company 758 Realty LLC (758 Realty) reached a settlement with New York Attorney General Letitia James for repeatedly lying to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in offering plans and related filings in violation of the Martin Act and for illegally renting condo units and single rooms to non-purchasers, often without leases and for less than 30 days, in violation of the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law.
To ensure the continued availability of low-cost housing in New York City, Huang, Tang, and 758 Realty have agreed to pay $420,000 and amend all necessary papers pertaining to 881 Condominium. They will also issue rent-stabilized leases to present tenants.
“As New Yorkers were fighting to find safe, stable, and affordable housing where they could thrive, Ray Huang and Bao Tang were looking for new ways to defraud the system, only looking out for themselves and their own bottom line,” said Attorney General James.
I have always advocated for renters’ rights and will not stand by while negligent landlords exploit their communities. My agency will keep fighting for tenants’ rights and making sure that scofflaws like them are punished.
Ten apartments, two stores, and three parking spaces in a brand-new Brooklyn condo were up for grabs when Huang and Tang submitted their selling plan to the Office of the Attorney General in April 2017.
As stated in the paperwork submitted to OAG, Huang, and Tang claimed that the building was vacant and that condos would be offered for sale. Instead, Huang and Tang began collecting rent from both legal and illegal SRO (single-room occupancy) residents in the building before the offering plan was accepted for filing.
Tenants often rented for fewer than 30 days at a time, paid in cash, and did not have signed leases, all of which constitute illegal short-term rentals.
Huang and Tang repeatedly assured OAG that the building was vacant when in fact it was occupied by tenants. In 2020, they claimed a squatter had moved in, and later that year, through their lawyer, they represented that only three renters currently lived in the building, both of which statements were untrue and had been filed as part of various affidavits made to OAG.
According to the results of the study, the building has had many additional occupants at different times since 2018.
Huang and Tang lied to OAG and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) in order to receive a tax abatement. They promised HPD that condos would be available in the building when they applied for 421-a tax breaks.
They had to register the apartments with New York City’s Housing and Community Renewal and alter their application with HPD so that the building would be considered a rent-stabilized rental before the offering plan would be approved for submission (HCR).
Huang and Tang did not provide the renters with rent stabilization measures and did not comply with the law. Under these false pretenses, Huang and Tang were allowed to keep receiving 421-a payments.
The settlement reached today requires Huang and Tang to pay $355,000 in penalties and $64,500 in disgorgement of rent received since 2018, for a total payment of $419,500 to Attorney General James’ Affordable Housing Fund with HPD.
This money will go towards the preservation and construction of affordable housing in New York City. All current residents at 881 Condominium will be offered rent-stabilized leases from Huang and Tang, and the landlords will refrain from intimidating or harassing tenants or taking other action to get them to vacate their stabilized units.
This agreement is part of Attorney General James’ continued efforts to safeguard renters and hold landlords accountable. The Attorney General filed suit against a dishonest Brooklyn property owner in November 2022 for defrauding at least 20 Chinese immigrant families out of $5 million by selling them bogus condo units.
In August of 2022, she discovered a payoff plan to deregulate rent-stabilized apartments and collected more than $4 million from landlords as a result.
Louis M. Solomon, Chief of the Real Estate Finance Bureau’s Enforcement Department, is in charge of this case and reports to Jacqueline Dischell, Director of the Bureau.
Carly Weinreb and Kimberly Ver Ploeg, both formerly of the Office of the Attorney General, provided assistance. Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy lead the Real Estate Finance Bureau within the Division for Social Justice.