If you are a renter at one of Bedly’s co-living locations, you may be tearing your hair out in frustration at the turmoil caused by the company's sudden closure and still unsure of what to do next.
The company breached its contract with renters when it shut down abruptly on July 21st. It has 600 subtenants in about 200 buildings in Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, and Harlem, as well as Jersey City and Boston.
It did not give renters 30-days termination notice, as required in its own leases, and it also appears to be in violation of NYC’s anti-SRO laws, which forbid renting single rooms. Some of the apartments, advertised on its site, like this Bed-Stuy listing, have bedrooms with no windows, which is illegal.
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To make matters worse, while Bedly told renters it was “handing the relationship back to the landlord of the building,” many tenants don’t know who those owners are. Only a couple of renters have told Brick Underground that they are communicating with their landlords; many more are in still the dark.
“Texts and calls go unanswered. Bedly will not speak with us,” writes one Jersey City Bedly renter.
As Sam Himmelstein, a lawyer with Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph who represents residential and commercial tenants and tenant associations (and a Brick sponsor), tells Brick Underground: Bedly leases that rent single bedrooms are “completely illegal. They are setting up a rooming house, which violates the anti-SRO law,” he says.
He also recommends tenants go to the Department of Buildings website and check their building’s property profile to see if it is occupied in violation of the C of O, in which case a landlord can’t collect rent. And if a building has six or more units, renters should see if the property is actually rent stabilized, in which case a tenant may be overpaying.
Here are three additional courses of action Bedly renters in New York can take:
1) The Office of the Attorney General
You can file a complaint online with the attorney general’s consumer fraud bureau here.
2) Brooklyn District Attorney
The DA’s Action Center takes complaints over the phone or in-person, and they can be anonymous. The center is located at 350 Jay St., 16th Fl., Brooklyn. You can call 718-250-2340. For more information, visit the website.
3) New York City Civil Court
Himmselstein says tenants are in a position to sue for breach of contract. Read how to start a case in a NY court and where to sue. There’s also information on representing yourself and finding a lawyer, including free legal services.
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