Tenants in Kushner Cos. building say they were pushed out: report
Former tenants in a rent-stabilized building in Brooklyn bought in 2015 by Jared Kushner’s family real estate business allege that they were forced out of their homes by incessant construction and staggering rent hikes.
More than a dozen current and former tenants in the Austin Nichols House in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood recounted their experiences with Kushner Cos. to The Associated Press.
The interviews describe construction that began early in the mornings and lasted until nightfall. Aside from the noise caused by the renovations, the construction reportedly spread dust throughout the building.
Workers often entered apartments without prior notice, the AP reported, and rats scurried through the building.
Some tenants also experienced rent increases of $500 or more, according to the AP. Over the past three years, about 75 percent of the building’s apartments had either been cleared out or sold to high-paying buyers.
Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and a senior adviser in the White House, bought the property in 2015 along with two partners with the intention of converting the apartments into condos.
The rate of tenant turnover at the property was higher than the average in New York City’s rent-stabilized buildings, according to data reviewed by the AP.
Tenants are preparing to file a lawsuit against Kushner Cos. on Monday, alleging that they were harassed into vacating the property and exposed to potentially harmful dust, the AP reported.
Dust samples from nine apartments in the building contained high amounts of lead and crystalline silica, which has been linked to lung cancer and other conditions, according to the AP.
Kushner Cos. told the AP in a statement that “tremendous care was taken to prevent dust and inconvenience to tenants.” The company conceded that it had received complaints from tenants, but asserted that it was quick to address the grievances.