This is one contest nobody wants to win. Neil Rubler, head of affordable-housing empire Vantage Properties, which controls about 130 apartment buildings in the five boroughs, and son-in-law to the Olnicks—the under-the-radar family that famously leased four rent-regulated apartments to Harlem congressman and Caribbean property magnate Charlie Rangel—has made the Village Voice‘s 2010 “New York’s Ten Worst Landlords.”
When Rubler took over, dozens of other Vantage tenants, many of whom live along the 7 train line in Queens, began to complain about the same thing: rent checks not being cashed, followed by a refusal to renew leases on non-payment grounds and lawsuits alleging they didn’t really live in their apartments.
Mr. Rubler’s tactics led to tenant lawsuits and, ultimately, to an investigation by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. On Feb. 11, Mr. Cuomo announced that the two sides had reached a settlement. Mr. Rubler would have to hire an independent auditor to make sure he was complying with applicable law, set aside money to handle tenant complaints, and contribute to nonprofits that help renters.
Other landlords that made the list, only the first half of which has been published: Williamsburg’s Moishe Indig; Harlem’s Humphrey Stephenson; Bronx landlords Aaron and Solyman Yashouafar; and Washington Heights’ Bahram Hakakian.