E.g., 11/22/2019
E.g., 11/22/2019

The ANHD Blog raises the profile of our issues, and educates our member groups, city decision makers, and the general public on our core issue areas. The ANHD Blog offers sharp, timely and effective commentary on key public policy issues, as well as our work and the work of our member groups.

All of our blogs are sorted based on the issues, projects, special tags, and dates they are associated with, and you can use the dropdowns below to filter through our blogs based on these tags. Additionally, you can do a general search through our blog, using the search bar the right. If you can’t find what you are looking for, email comms@anhd.org.

The Banking & Legal Systems That Support the City’s Worst Evictors

October 22, 2019

Evictions Upend Lives and Can Tear Families Apart – and Now They Can Be Prevented

Today, a week before the first ever People’s Tribunal on Evictions, the Right to Counsel NYC coalition, JustFix.nyc, and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project release a citywide Worst Evictors List. Right to Counsel (RTC), a game-changing new law that gives tenants the right to an attorney in housing court, currently exists for tenants in 20 zip codes and will expand citywide by 2022. Along with the Worst Evictors List, the groups also released an interactive map that shows where evictions happened across the city in 2018 and the landlords responsible for them. Tenants can search the map for their landlord to determine whether, and where they evicted tenants. The map contains 18,007 evictions carried out by landlords in 2018, demonstrating the pervasive and systemic nature of the eviction crisis.

With this new list, we can see who these serial evictors are citywide, and tenants are putting them on notice. At the tribunal, tenants from across the city will put landlords and the government on trial for their role in the eviction crisis. The list also illustrates just how often landlords use housing court. Ved Parkash, #2 on the Worst Evictors List – and the #1 worst evictors within RTC zip codes – has 1.1 lawsuits per family, meaning that he has sued more tenants in housing court than families he houses.

Right to Counsel had a swift impact on tenants with evictions down much further than outside the target zip codes. The new rent laws recently passed through the state legislature are also dampening speculation and reducing evictions, but evictions continue, and tenants without representation have little chance of remaining in their homes.   

This new resource builds upon a list released in May with the worst evictors within the 20 target zip codes. The lists are comprised of the landlords who evicted the most tenants in 2018 and the lenders and law firms that support them.

 

The Top 5 Evictors Citywide are:

#1: Phillip Wischerth, Estates NY Real Estate Services LLC, LeFrak Organization – 189 Evictions (0.57 lawsuits per family)

  • Top Lenders: Chase, Wells Fargo, M&T Bank, Capital One

#2: Ved Parkash 175 Evictions (1.1 lawsuits per family)

  • Top Lenders: Signature, New York Community Bank, Peapack Gladstone, Capital One

#3: Peter Fine, Atlantic Development Group – 167 Evictions (0.5 lawsuits per family)

  • Top Lenders: NYC Government Financing, Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Capital One

#4: Eugene Schneur, Omni New York LLC – 150 Evictions (0.6 lawsuits per family)

  • Top Lenders: Wells Fargo, BNY Mellon, Citi, NYC Government Financing

#5: Donald Hastings & Douglas Eisenberg, A&E Real Estate – 136 Evictions (0.4 lawsuits per family)

  • Top Lenders: Blackstone, Signature Bank, Capital One, New York Community Bank

The top 5 evictors within the 20 RTC zip codes are Ved Parkash (#2 citywide), E&M Associates (#11 citywide), Pinnacle Group (#7 citywide), Steven Finkelstein / FTRE Realty (#18 citywide), and Chestnut Holdings (#9 citywide). 

 

These landlords cannot operate alone. They need money to purchase and operate their buildings, which almost always includes a loan from a bank or non-bank lender. And most of these lenders are banks regulated by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which requires banks to reinvest and lend responsibly and equitably in the communities they serve.

Three CRA lenders in particular made the most loans to landlords on the worst evictors list:

  • Capital One financed 3 of the top 5 and 13 of the 20 worst evictors
  • NYCB financed 2 of the top 5 and 12 of the 20 worst evictors
  • Signature financed 2 of the top 5 and 9 of the 20 worst evictors

We appreciate that NYCB and Signature adopted responsible lending policies, but it doesn’t undo the damage already done by bad lending, nor does it help if there are no consequences for violating the standards. New York State chartered banks are now required to follow these best practices. All lenders – banks and non-banks – should adopt them as well:

  1. Responsible underwriting based on current rents and realistic maintenance costs;
  2. Appropriate vetting of borrowers to avoid lending to known bad actors; and
  3. A commitment to respond to issues in buildings when problems arise.

This list comes at a momentous time as banks are looking for resources to identify problematic lenders and as federal regulators are contemplating sweeping changes to the CRA, with some proposals that threaten the very core of this important law that needs to be preserved and strengthened. The CRA has been a powerful tool to get banks to reinvest in New York City neighborhoods to support affordable housing and other forms of community development, but it has fallen short in stemming the tide of financing that fuels displacement. ANHD, along with allies nationwide, are calling for regulators to preserve and strengthen the CRA, including downgrades for displacement.

We call on all stakeholders to respond with urgency to make sure no more families lose their homes!

  • CRA Reform must allow for downgrades for displacement. Financing serial evictors violates the standards of responsible lending. Participate in NCRC’s Twitter Storm October 24th and be ready to comment when the CRA reform proposals are released.
  • Federal CRA regulators and regulators at the NY State Department of Financial Services (DFS) must hold banks to a high standard of responsible lending, and institute consequences for harmful lending patterns.
  • Legislators should hold both bank and non-bank lenders accountable when their actions are harming their constituents, and urge regulators to strengthen the CRA to downgrade for displacement.
  • Lenders on the worst evictors list should promptly review any loans made to these landlords and do everything possible to ensure no more tenants are subject to the undue hardship and stress caused by evictions and the threat of evictions. 
  • Tenants and tenant organizers should attend the People’s Tribunal on October 29th. Hold banks accountable in your organizing. Write to the banks and bank regulators, the same as you would to your landlords and legislators. Banks have a responsibility to respond and hold their borrowers to the highest standards.

 

Read ANHD’s latest State of Bank Reinvestment in NYC to learn more about all the ways banks are, and aren’t, reinvesting in your neighborhoods. The report includes a section on multifamily lending as a key part of the report.

Sign up Form