Attorney General James Secures $420,000 for Affordable Housing in New York City from Fraudulent Landlords
Ray Huang and Bao Tang Operated an Illegal Single-Room Occupancy Rental Business
Funds Will Be Used to Preserve and Expand Affordable Housing in NYC
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced she has secured nearly $420,000 from two Brooklyn landlords who ran an illegal single-room occupancy (SRO) rental business out of 881 Condominium, a building in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. Attorney General James reached a settlement with Ray Qi Wang Huang, Bao Qing Tang, and their company 758 Realty LLC (758 Realty) for illegally renting condo units and single rooms to non-purchasers, often without leases and for less than 30 days, in violation of the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, and repeatedly lying to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in offering plans and related filings in violation of the Martin Act. As a result of the settlement announced today, Huang, Tang, and 758 Realty will correct all paperwork related to 881 Condominium, provide current tenants with rent-stabilized leases, and pay $420,000 to preserve affordable housing in New York City.
“While New Yorkers were struggling to find safe, stable, and affordable housing where they could thrive, Ray Huang and Bao Tang were looking for new ways to cheat the system, only looking out for themselves and their own bottom line,” said Attorney General James. “I have always fought for tenants’ best interests, and I will not allow delinquent property owners to take advantage of their neighbors. My office will continue to stand up for tenants and will ensure these individuals and any other bad actors are held accountable.”
In April 2017, Huang and Tang submitted an offering plan to OAG for the sale of ten residential units, two commercial units, and three parking spaces in a newly constructed condo at 881 54th Street in Brooklyn. In the paperwork filed with OAG, Huang and Tang represented that the building was vacant, and units would be offered for sale as condo units. Instead, before the offering plan was accepted for filing, Huang and Tang began to receive rental payments from tenants occupying residential units in the building and tenants renting illegal SROs, or individual rooms within units in the building. These tenants paid rent in cash, were not provided written leases, and often rented for less than 30 days, constituting illegal short-term rentals.
Huang and Tang never informed OAG that tenants were living in the building, instead they continued to represent that the building was vacant. They repeatedly provided false information to OAG and submitted multiple affidavits lying about the building’s occupancy status, claiming in 2020 that a squatter had moved in, and later that same year representing through their lawyer that only three tenants currently lived in the building. An investigation revealed that many more tenants had lived in the building at various times since 2018.
In addition to misrepresentations to OAG, Huang and Tang lied to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to secure a tax exemption. In their application for 421-a benefits to HPD, they claimed the building would be a condo. Once they started renting units in the building before the offering plan was accepted for filing, they were then required to update their application with HPD to characterize the building as a rent-stabilized rental building, as well as register the units with New York Homes and Community Renewal (HCR). Huang and Tang did not comply, nor did they offer the tenants the protections of rent stabilization. Huang and Tang continued to receive 421-a benefits under these false pretenses.
As a result of today’s agreement, Huang and Tang will pay $355,000 in penalties and $64,500 in disgorgement of rent received since 2018, for a total payment of $419,500 to Attorney General James’ Affordable Housing Fund with HPD, which finances the preservation and creation of affordable housing in New York City. Huang and Tang must provide all current tenants at 881 Condominium with rent-stabilized leases and will not engage in any form of tenant harassment or intimidation, or efforts to force tenants to abandon their stabilized units.
This settlement is the latest in Attorney General James’ ongoing efforts to protect tenants and hold property owners accountable. In November 2022, the Attorney General sued a fraudulent Brooklyn property owner for selling fake condo units and stealing more than $5 million from at least 20 Chinese immigrant families. In August 2022, she secured more than $4 million from landlords after uncovering an illegal kickback scheme to deregulate rent-stabilized apartments.
This matter is being handled by Enforcement Section Chief Louis M. Solomon of the Real Estate Finance Bureau under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jacqueline Dischell. Former Assistant Attorneys General Carly Weinreb and Kimberley Ver Ploeg assisted on the matter. The Real Estate Finance Bureau is a part of the Division for Social Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Meghan Faux and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.