The Real Deal this month reported on eight lawsuits commenced by KMWB Partner Joseph Goldsmith against HPD by landlords who argue that a city program improperly forces them to prove their tenants were not harassed, or to set aside apartments for low-income residents, in order to obtain permits from the Department of Buildings for certain renovations.
Goldsmith argues HPD’s inclusion of the buildings on the CONH Pilot Program Building List is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, was affected by an error of law, and made in violation of lawful procedure. He further argues HPD’s inclusion of the buildings on the CONH Pilot Program Building List is violative of building owners procedural due process as they were not provided notice of the decision and access to a full and fair hearing, the right to call and cross-examine witnesses, and to adduce and rebut evidence.
Goldsmith says that a building is devalued by 30% or more simply by being added to the CONH Pilot Program Building List, whether or not harassment has taken place, and “there’s a giant cloud placed over these buildings” as a result. He added that, “It’s like you are guilty first, and then you have to prove yourself innocent.”