Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Tyler's Owner Once Named One Of New York's Ten Worst Landlords

Neil Rubler (Zachary Kussin Photo)
Five years ago The Village Voice set out to identify and write about New York's ten worst landlords. Making the list was Neil Rubler, a young real estate magnate whose New York-based company acquired the Indianapolis apartment building on Indiana Avenue near the IUPUI campus where a shootout took place between IMPD officers and several persons this past weekend after police were called by on-site security officers to gain control of a rowdy party in one of the building's apartments. Five persons were treated at area hospitals for gunshot injuries from the gunfire exchange early Sunday morning. Rubler's Candebrook Properties acquired The Tyler last year from West Lafayette-based Trinitas Ventures as part of a $230 million acquisition of student-related housing projects Trinitas owned in several states.

According to the Village Voice article, Rubler got his start in the real estate business by marrying into the Olnick real estate family where he became a top executive. Rubler established Vantage Properties in 2005, which scooped up about 9,000 mostly rent-controlled apartments scattered among 130 properties around New York City. Rubler boasted to investors that he planned to do for real estate what Wal-Mart had done for the retail industry. He promised investors a 20% turnover rate in his apartments, a difficult goal to achieve given that average turnover rate for rent-controlled apartments in New York at the time was just 5.6%. By simply turning over tenants, Vantage could increase rental rates at least 20%. Litigious tactics Vantage employed to achieve higher turnover rates landed Rubler on the Village Voice's list of notorious landlords. According to a spate of lawsuits and actions taken by government authorities, Vantage would refuse to cash tenants' rent checks and then take them to court to evict them, or it would falsely accuse them of having a primary residence other than their rent-controlled apartment as a way of forcing them out.

Rubler's sweetheart relationship with the ethically-challenged, long-time New York Congressman Charlie Rangel also caught the attention of the New York Times a few years back. A couple of months after a charity Rubler headed up honored Rangel, The Times reported that his real estate company had leased four rent-controlled apartments in its Lenox Terrace property in Harlem to Congressman Rangel. The Times criticized Rangel for hoarding rent-controlled apartments, including using one as an office, while the Olnick Organization headed by Rubler used overzealous tactics to evict tenants from rent-stabilized apartments and convert them to market-rate housing. New York's former Attorney General Andrew Cuomo at one point threatened to sue Vantage for unlawful business practices before his office reached a settlement agreement with the company under which it agreed to cease serving tenants with baseless legal notices.

As was pointed out in a previous post, The Tyler apartment building in Indianapolis had already become a problem apartment building while it was still under the ownership of Trinitas Ventures. Downtown Indianapolis residents should be alarmed that city officials earlier this year gave approval to Trinitas to build another 11-story apartment building in the heart of downtown at the northeast corner of Michigan and Capital Streets. Clearly, this company is more interested in developing and flipping properties for a quick profit than being a long-term, committed business neighbor like so many of the other favored developers gaining quick approval of similar apartment building projects throughout downtown, often sweetened with taxpayer subsidies.


Anonymous said...

As a registered voter residing in the Old North Side, I am much more than "alarmed" at what city officials are doing, and not doing, when it comes to construction, development, or redevelopment of downtown parcels and properties. Just when I thought it was impossible to cram in more boring, cheap looking (and probably shoddily constructed), over-priced (or "income rent-controlled") structures now comes this Neil Rubler- whose countenance in the blog picture seems to be the poster boy for the monied with no scruples.

Our corrupt Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, and our feckless, ineffective City Council led by constantly asleep at the wheel Democrat Maggie Lewis are creating a mess of an urban area that promised so much but lately has seen illegal confiscation of parking spaces, TIF's that drain my neighboring areas of their tax dollars for Ballard's buddies, and those damn electric vehicles which are actually fueled by coal (think about it). The conglomeration and congestion of shoddy built and cheap looking structures- but with ozone layer rent levels- along Mass Av, Virginia Av, and in areas of the IUPUI campus region are creating grid lock on the streets and affordability lock-outs with rental rates $1000 monthly or more. Where the hell our idiot politicians think there are enough individuals to afford these places on the long term is a well kept secret to me.

Now the report of this NYC wealthy tenement builder Rubler- at least that's what I get from the info in the blog- and I am disheartened even more. Chuck "Caboose" Brewer and Lying Joe Hogsett don't give me much hope at all for any betterment of a City ruined by corruption and special interest downtown deals.

Anonymous said...

This town is corrupt. Too bad there isn't anyone with enough courage to fight it here. And all we have to choose from is more from the Repubs with Brewer (a reconstituted stooge like Ballard) and Hogsett from the dems (he is just interested in headlines...all fluff and no stuff). This town is in very serious trouble...with everyone asleep at the wheel, it won't take long to become a Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:08 is spot on. Center Township remains mostly gutted. Population is 150,000 vs. 330,000 in 1950. You won't hear the cheerleaders talk about that. Only St. Louis and Detroit are worse in terms of center city pop loss as a percentage from peak. Indy is so provincial that nobody seems to quite grasp that given that, a few apartments are a drop in the bucket. Besides, virtually EVERY city is undergoing the same thing. They keep pointing to Livability and our #3 in the nation downtown. Nobody mentions that Livability ranked Fort Worth Texas #1. That's funny. Fort Worth doesn't even have the best downtown in the DFW metroplex, let alone America but it's two ahead of downtown Indy.