Sunset Park landlords slapped with $420,000 fine over fraudulent rental business

Two Brooklyn landlords were running an illegal single-room occupancy rental business out of 881 Condominium, in Sunset Park.
Two Brooklyn landlords were running an illegal single-room occupancy rental business out of 881 Condominium, in Sunset Park.
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Two Brooklyn landlords were hit with a near $420,000 fine for operating an illegal single-room occupancy rental business out of Sunset Park dwelling, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday.

Owners of 758 Realty, Ray Qi Wang Huang and Bao Qing Tang, reached a settlement with the OAG after it was found they had been illegally renting condo units and single rooms to tenants at 881 54th St. since 2018, often without leases and for less than 30 days.

“While New Yorkers were struggling to find safe, stable, and affordable housing where they could thrive, Ray Huang and Bao Tang were looking for new ways to cheat the system, only looking out for themselves and their own bottom line,” said James. “I have always fought for tenants’ best interests, and I will not allow delinquent property owners to take advantage of their neighbors.”

Huang and Tang filed an offering plan to James’ office in April 2017 claiming the property was vacant and that ten residential units, two commercial units, and three parking spaces at the newly constructed condo on 54th Street would be up for sale.

According to the OAG, before the filing was accepted, the pair started to receive rental payments from tenants occupying residential units in the building and tenants renting illegal SROs, or individual rooms within units in the building.

An investigation found that the tenants paid rent in cash, were not provided written leases, and often rented for less than 30 days, constituting illegal short-term rentals.

“They repeatedly provided false information to OAG and submitted multiple affidavits lying about the building’s occupancy status, claiming in 2020 that a squatter had moved in, and later that same year representing through their lawyer that only three tenants currently lived in the building,” prosecutors said.

James’ office also found that Huang and Tang had lied to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to secure a tax exemption, receiving 421-a benefits under false pretenses.

The investigation concluded that Huang and Tang were in violation of the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, and had repeatedly lied to the Office of the OAG in offering plans and related filings in violation of the Martin Act.

As a result of Wednesday’s settlement announcement, Huang, Tang, and 758 Realty have to correct all paperwork related to 881 Condominium and provide current tenants with rent-stabilized leases.

They also have to pay $355,000 in penalties and $64,500 in disgorgement of rent received since 2018, for a total payment of $419,500 to the OAG’s Affordable Housing Fund with HPD, which finances the preservation and creation of affordable housing in the city.

This is the latest crackdown on shady landlords by the OAG, who sued a fraudulent Brooklyn property owner for selling fake condo units and stealing more than $5 million from at least 20 Chinese immigrant families in November last year.