New York City regulators fined the Kushner Family real estate company, Kushner Companies, $210,000 on Monday. The fine comes after an investigation showed that the family business, with current advisor and son-in-law to President Trump as CEO, falsified documents, claiming that they had no rent-regulated tenants in their building, when in actuality they had hundreds.
The New York City buildings department fined the company for filing 42 false applications for construction work. After these applications were filed, it is alleged by tenants that the Kushners took on loud and disruptive construction work as a means to chase their rent-regulated tenants out of their property.
By pushing many rent-regulated tenants out the door, the Kushners were able to charge increased rent to individuals who moved into the newly vacant units.
According to the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal Office of Rent Administration, “Rent regulation is intended to protect tenants in privately-owned buildings from illegal rent increases and allow owners to maintain their buildings and realize a reasonable profit.”
Essentially, these rent controls limit the amount of rent that a landlord can charge a tenant, but also guarantees that these tenants will not be harassed in any way.
“The law prohibits harassment of rent regulated tenants,” reads the official NYSHCR website. “Owners found guilty of intentional actions to force a tenant to vacate an apartment can be denied decontrol and lawful rent increases and may be subject to both civil and criminal penalties. Owners found guilty of tenant harassment are subject to fines of up to $5,000 for each violation.”
Kushner Companies claims that they are not at fault and that it was “third party consultants” who had prepared their applications.
“In no case did the company act in disregard of the safety of our tenants,” Kushner Cos. spokeswoman Christine Taylor explained to the AP. “We look forward to presenting the facts before an administrative law judge and until then no amount is due.”
After these false applications were filed, Kushner Cos. was able to sell one of these buildings in Queens, New York for $60 million in 2017 — an almost 50% increase over what they paid just 2 years prior, according to the Associated Press.