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New York Times real estate writer sued, accused of owing $35,000 in rental dispute

Looking for a temporary Upper West Side apartment for $2,999/month to escape noisy construction. choices made by this couple.

What eventually sued them, alleging that she owed at least $35,000 in unpaid rent and expenses.

Joyce Cohen, New York Times contributorand author of "The Hunt". This is a weekly column that has long chronicled the challenges of locals to find new homes in the notoriously expensive and competitive. New York City — Her own real estate headache: charges her for unpaid rent on her Park-near property in Central on her sublease agreement. The landlord claims this is also illegal.

Cohen was named alongside her husband Benjamin and her Meltzer in a state Supreme Court complaint filed Tuesday by plaintiffs Amit and Jasmine Matta. of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the complaint, the Mattas moved to a temporary city residence in the early days of COVID for the sake of her daughter's health and that of her Jasmine, who was recovering from cancer. He said he moved.

The unit appears to be owned by Chelsea — according to city financial records, Amit Matta bought it in 2005 for $1.4 million in a two-bedroom spread. , most recently she tried to rent between May 2020 and she November. StreetEasy's record shows it wasn't successful. According to the complaint, her Craigslist ad subleasing her unit Uptown Furnished went public around November 2020. Cohen declined to comment for this story.

Cohen is a New York Times contributor.
Cohen is a contributor to The New York Times. "Defendant's conduct is riddled with irony and hypocrisy because the rent that defendant refused to pay is below the current rental market value of plaintiff's residence," she wrote in the complaint.

In late 2020, Cohen and Meltzer advertised in an ad that they had to evacuate their nearby rent-stable home due to construction scheduled outside. I replied. After-hours variance recording for the Buildings sector for July 2022 continues to progress. (Meanwhile, Department of Transportation records show a block where subtenant temporary housing stands have their own ongoing work, including ConEd's gas )

Cohen and Meltzer agreed that: According to the complaint, he paid $2,999 a month plus all utilities while continuing to pay the rent on his primary home.

According to details in the complaint, Cohen and Meltzer's reason for moving: They suffer from a hearing impairment called hyperacusis, which causes seemingly normal sounds (in this case, the sound of a construction site) to be unbearably loud. I can feel it.

Not long after Cohen and Meltzer moved in, the building's landlord and superintendent knocked on the door, the complaint added. According to the landlord (an insider sued Matas and Cohen separately in December), the arranged sublet of the rental apartment was illegal, resulting in the landlord filing a lawsuit. 38} The complaint centers on a building on the Upper West Side, which is otherwise known for rows of historic brownstones.

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Jasmine and Rent payment for attempted settlement with Amit has been withheld. Two men admit to subletting an apartment without the landlord's permission.

The Mattas said in their complaint that they "begged" them to move out to avoid impending lawsuits. They won't pay more than $2,558 a month, or what their attorneys said was "statutory rent." In the complaint, the Mattas and Mrs. Cohen allege that the landlord had an unapproved sublease at the time they signed the contract. He said he was aware of the possibility of filing a lawsuit seeking

"After that, [Cohen and Meltzer] continued to live for free, stopped paying rent to [the Matas family], and never paid rent to their landlords," the complaint reads. there is Cohen, who published a column in The Times, is said to have made his "plan to live for free" even worse due to his "extensive knowledge of real estate and connections with real estate."

"Defendant's conduct is full of irony and hypocrisy because the rent that defendant refused to pay is below the current rental market value of plaintiff's residence," the complaint states.

As quoted in the complaint, correspondence between Cohen and Meltzer and Matas states that the subtenants began paying rent into an escrow account, but were unable to pay the rent due to a dispute over legal fees. However, the complaint does not state when the rent payment was allegedly stopped, how much it should have been paid, or whether a minimum of $35,000 in damages was awarded to the rent and other It is not specified how it will be split between costs.

The neighborhood also is home to apartment housing.
Christopher Sadowski for NY Post

After suffering noise-related injuries after renting, Joyce and Ben discover that the overtenant subleased to them under false pretenses, the landlord stopped taking rent, and [Mr and Mrs Matas] are now living in their condo," Cohen and Meltzer's attorney, Jeffrey McAdams, told The Post in a statement, referring to the Chelsea property.

McAdams added that Cohen continually deposits money into his escrow account. 

They have put rent payments on hold for the past two months as they attempted to reconcile with Jasmine and Amit, according to the report, who sublet the apartment without the landlord's permission," McAdams said in a statement. Stated. "The tenants have refused to settle and continue to harm and threaten Joyce and Ben." The complaint does not admit that to be true, which further elaborates on the allegation from the sub-tenant that was intended to "pass through," Amit Matta told Insider. He and his wife "absolutely deny" it.)

The complaint goes further, even though Cohen and Meltzer offered alternative solutions to the Matters' needs. , accused of refusing to leave.

Nonetheless, a correspondence from Cohen and Meltzer's attorneys cited in the complaint states: they don't. They need to be within walking distance of her home on 74th Street, but if Amit finds a quiet enough place for their needs and larger than a studio, they're happy to move. ''

Records point to other problems in the history of this apartment building—a bitter relationship that seems to exist between Mattas and his landlord—reported by Mattas and the city bureau in the form of previous violations that appear to have been communicated by. Housing Conservation & Development to Landlords. They include documenting cockroach infestations throughout the apartment. Another detailed lead paint peeling off the door jamb. These have since been resolved.

An Upper West Side townhouse.
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Supreme Court filings this week stated: Evidence is also included, in the first section under the heading "Roommate Agreement", the Tenant is granted "full and unrestricted access to the property for two years from January 15, 2021 to January 14, 2023. — to forfeit those rights unless Cohen gives 30 days' notice to Matta.

"If [Cohen] makes such notice, [Matta] may seek out another individual to share the property or, in some cases, sublet the space." I understand," it said. “To support this, [Matta] may wish to show the unit to other individuals. It said it agreed to make reversible changes, including the installation of a Plexiglas noise barrier, which clearly agreed with the couple's sensitivity to noise, according to the complaint. , as of July 5, Cohen and Meltzer had not moved in.

The Mattas intended to offer subtenants a two-year sublease, the family said in a statement, noting the complaint. He said there are "many other" interactions that haven't been made.

"I don't understand why they are still at our place when we were ready to leave on July 5," Jasmine told her The Post in a statement. . “So our place no longer provides the necessary coverage for their safety and health. It is simply a question of money.

A New York Times spokeswoman told the Post in response to a message seeking comment. “We are aware of the lawsuit and are investigating it,” Great Neck-based Vision Enterprise Management, the building's owner, declined to comment. Jennifer Rosen, the attorney representing Matas in the building lawsuit, did not return requests for comment.