A Tenant Demanded A Million Dollars To Move Out, And The Landlord’s Next Move Was…


The tenant-holdout saga stifling an Upper West Side condo conversion has triggered a personal feud between two high-profile real estate attorneys.

Homeownership is a big financial decision, and before you know that you can fully commit to it without negatively impacting your lifestyle, you’re stuck with renting. There’s a common misconception about it; people say that it’s a waste of money since you’re not investing into anything and are basically throwing your money away. But you’re financing a roof over your head, so how could it ever be wasteful? On the other hand, renting does come with a load of problems, and this 52-year-old tenant can definitely confirm.

52-year-old Ahmet Nejat Ozsu, a Manhattan citizen, and his dog have gotten themselves into a little bit of a pickle as the tenant is completely refusing to leave his perfect NYC apartment. The thing is, the man is delaying a grand $70 million condo project and has been sued for over $25 million.

According to AWM:

The building was sold to the Naftali Group in June 2021 for a shocking total of $70 million. At the time, the new landlords told all existing tenants that they had to leave the building and find another place to live.

Real estate gurus believe that the new owners want to tear down the building and erect a new luxury tower that would house just about eleven units – all worth about $40 million. The current building has 128 units that are all much more modest than the real estate developer’s plans.

Ozsu lives in one of sixteen units that are currently still occupied despite the new landlord’s request that everyone move out and find a new place to live. However, Ozsu believes he is on a personal “crusade” to stay in his rental, according to his attorney.

Ozsu now demands a one million payout in order for him to leave his current home and find another place to live. To add insult to injury, he was unemployed from October 2021 to March 2022 and needed time to build up a savings account, so he would have enough cash to find another place to live on the expensive island of Manhattan.

“He has a legal right to stay on the premises under ERAP,” Ozsu’s attorney, Adam Leitman Bailey said that the New York State’s pandemic-era Emergency Rental Assistance Program, under which Ozsu may be allowed to live in the unit for another full year or more.

“Unfortunately, the landlord hasn’t accepted this,” Leitman Bailey continued.

Instead, he said, the developer has allegedly installed a loud fan (for the sole purpose of making an irritating din) and a security camera outside his door, stripped the floor of all fire safety signs, and hired workers to yell and spit at him when he exits and enters the building, all for the sole purpose of making Ozsu’s life at 215 W. 84th St. unbearable.

“Even though he’s knocking down the building, he has done construction directly opposite his dwelling every day,” Leitman Bailey added.

Ozsu is holding on tight to his fairly spacious apartment with a private deck on the top floor of a beautiful NYC building. With a generous renting price of $3,350 a month, the Naftali group couldn’t move the tenant with a $30,000 buyout offer – that, in fact, wouldn’t even be able to sponsor him a year worth of rent, nor with a $25 million lawsuit that they recently filed against him. There are 128 apartments and only 16 tenants are still occupying the property – however, the man is the only renter who has not agreed to move out.

For years Ozsu worked as a software engineer, but has been unemployed for some time now, and owes approximately $13,600 in back rent.

Now, in addition to the loss of his job and imminent loss of his apartment, he’s also dealing with a $25 million lawsuit Naftali recently filed against him. A Naftali attorney not part of that litigation is also now personally suing Leitman Bailey.

Scharf said that suit is in response to Leitman Bailey acting unethically towards the building owners.

If the situation sounds ridiculous, even by the insane standards of New York City real estate drama, Leitman Bailey said, it’s because it is: “I mostly represent developers. [Ozsu] was recommended to me by a developer who was disgusted that Naftali was making other developers look bad.”

Watch the video below for more details:

Source: AWM

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