Landlord Ben Shaoul Doesn’t Understand Why Tenants Complaining

Posted on: July 11th, 2012 at 10:28 am by

“Why are my tenants complaining about my improvements? Like, how about a pat on the back for doing that work? Instead, we get resistance the whole way through.” Words likely to boil the blood from landlord Ben “Sledgehammer” Shaoul.

The Times penned a lengthy piece on the controversial real estate figure over the weekend, which is pretty much a concise summation of everything EV Grieve and Curbed (and others in the local media) have been following these last few years. While Shaoul has his proverbial finger on many properties throughout the city, there is particular focus on his East Village portfolio of some forty properties and a sour reputation in this community. Specifically with regard to the Cabrini Center travesty in which he purchased and liquidated the senior home, and the buzzer-beater DOB filing before the landmarks vote at 315 East 10th Street.

The tone of the article invokes a more negative tack, except for those market rate and commercial tenants who talk highly of the man. Here are some noteworthy nuggets from author:

“He’s front and center in all of these things,” said the writer who calls himself EV Grieve, who has pseudonymously chronicled development in the neighborhood since 2007. “Ben is the latest to get in on the East Village gold rush. He didn’t cause it, but he’s taking advantage of it.”

Mr. Shaoul made his inauspicious East Village debut in 2006, the same year the 21-story Cooper Square Hotel broke ground and the legendary rock club CBGB closed.

His reputation was reinforced as he renovated more buildings: rent-stabilized tenants in his buildings reported threats of eviction, and he racked up Department of Housing Preservation and Development complaints and violations for the interruption of heat and hot water, blocked fire escapes, broken locks and other issues related to construction and maintenance.

Market-rate and commercial tenants tend to speak more highly of Mr. Shaoul. “I like Ben,” said one commercial tenant, who asked not to be identified lest he alienate his customers. “He’s a good guy.” But, he later added, “he’s definitely a businessman first.”

Check out the full shebang here. Worth a read.

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