What would any rental-to-condo conversion, even one that promises renters the opportunity to stick around, be without tenant fears that they'll be forced out? It would be unlike any condo conversion we've ever seen! And it would not be Hicks Street's Cobble Hill Towers. Tenants in the complex have already gone through the first few stages of conversion anxiety, including arguing that the insider prices are too high and that gentrification is coming. And now come the worries that the building will try to force out its renters. One Cobble Hill Towers renter writes to the tipline that her monthly rent has gone up $500 this year:
I've lived there since Sept 1, in a 2 bdrm apt which they originally quoted to us as being worth $2400, but we talked them down to $2300. When we were told they planned on converting to condos, my roommate and I both became extremely worried that the "non-eviction" plan for renters would turn dirty, and they'd try to find any reason to squeeze us out to sell our unit.
....I'd already received a Lease Renewal form and accompanying paperwork stating that our new lease term would still only cost $2300/month, but they were requesting an additional $500 security deposit. We both OK'ed this and my friend...started going through the two-week ringer of paperwork to prove his income, background, and even paying a $75 credit check fee...We were told he was approved and they drafted up a new lease - which suddenly stated our rent would now be $2800, $500 more than original agreed upon....There have been no improvements made to our apartment and the only difference in the building has been the installation of a security gate and laundry room. Our worried renter tipster followed up, and she passes along the e-mail exchange she had with the building's management office. They say the $2300/month rent was just a "clerical error." The management office writes: "The amount of $2,451.52 stated on the paperwork you received with your initial lease does not reflect market value of the apartment but the last legal regulated rent before it was destabilized. Management feels that $2,800 is fair market value for your apartment."
We've seen worse typos, but that's probably not much comfort for this complex's renters. As for what converted Cobble Hill Towers apartments are now going for, there's one 2BR, 1BA apartment listed for $500,000.
· Cobble Hill Towers coverage [Curbed]