The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shamco - They Couldn't Think Of A Better Name?

They're called Shamco. It's more and more likely that if you rent an apartment in central Brooklyn it's owned and perhaps operated by a company like it. (Like Pinnacle, as the Q recently reported and listed local buildings owned by 'em.)

A flurry of buying in the past three years has meant more and more buildings in the area are owned by companies building massive portfolios. Used to was landlords owned one, two maybe three buildings. But it's now the norm that your large apartment building is owned by a major real estate concern, often one that manages as well. Why the sudden interest in long-neglected properties? Well, they're worth more, and potentially a LOT more, should most of the units leave rent stabilization.

At the end of this post is a list of the Shamco buildings we're aware of, via the Flatbush Tenants Association.  We know there are more, and would love to hear from tenants in Shamco buildings - please email me if you write a check to Shamco.  Technically owned by a bunch of different LLCs, all ultimately owned by "Shamah Properties LLC"

I sat down recently with Aga Trojniak of the Flatbush Tenants Coalition to discuss the state of affairs, and folks, it's as dire as a raging fire for many un-savvy tenants. Buy-outs are rampant, allowing landlords to bump up rent drastically, and by renting to a young mobile person they're chances are good that the tenant will stay just a year or two and they can bump again. Better yet, slap a few cheap renovations around, publicize it somewhere like this. The dollars being offered for buy-outs are not great compared to the cost over the long-run of higher rents. Unless you're actually planning a move out of town, they're really not a good deal at all. A building's worth, after all, is judged by current rent rolls, and right now buyers are overpaying and over-leveraging. So the landlord or holding company has the perverse incentive of making life miserable for tenants, or offering whatever sum they can negotiate to move. And folks, don't take the first offer if you DO consider moving. You're in the driver's seat on the price, though that's little solace for being targeted for displacement. 

The Q can finally see where the REAL work needs to be done, if all this talk of affordability and displacement is more than just talk. We, all of us, need to be invested in helping people stay where they are. The Crown Heights Tenants Union and the Flatbush Coalition have it right - we need to use our resources to create unity, where right now, folks are pointing fingers and making accusations about each others character. I choose not to digress right now.

Aga has this advice:

If tenants in these buildings are experiencing harassment -- no repairs or bad repairs; late and legal and other fees; mci increases; frivolous court cases, etc.  they should contact us, either by email at, or by phone at 347.232.5417.  Tenants from different Shamco buildings are joining together and fighting back -- we are filing group overcharge complaints, security deposit complaints, and getting building-wide rent reductions for decreased services.  

To get their rent history, tenants can call DHCR, the state housing agency, at 718.739.6400.  Press 1 for english or 2 for spanish, then press 7.  Then ask for your COMPLETE rent history.  It's important to say complete, otherwise you won't get what you need.  Once you get your rent history, if you see a big jump in the rent (more than 30%) between you and the person before you (or between two other tenants), call us!  We can help you figure out if you might be overcharged.  If you are, you can get your rent lowered and your money back.  
Do you live in a Shamco Building? Here's some of them (not all), and remember the focus of this list is deeper into Flatbush, but not by much. 

1082-1092 President St
1026 President St.
1 St. Pauls Ct
200 E 18th St
2015 Foster Ave
215 Martense St.
255-259 Martense St.
350 E 19th St
538-546 E 21st St
543-549 E. 21st St.
75-89 Hawthorne St
860 Ocean Ave
1702-1722 Caton Ave
50 E. 19th St.
1911 Dorchester Rd.
1901-1907 Dorchester Rd.
65 E. 19th St.
2110 Newkirk Avenue
690 Rogers Ave
566 Parkside
558 Parkside
2101 Bedford Ave
1204 Ocean Ave
1553 Ocean Ave
2574 Bedford Ave
79-93 Bristol St
1650 Pitkin Ave

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