Meanwhile, thousands of hard-working Americans have lost their homes due to the recession…
via NYPost: An immigrant cabby scored the deal of a lifetime — a Chelsea pad for free until he dies — thanks to an obscure provision in the city’s rent-stabilization law.
TLC-licensed driver Oltimdje Ouattara hit the apartment jackpot after he began renting a room for $48 a night at an illegal hostel called the Chelsea Highline Hotel at 184 11th Ave. in August.
Ouattara learned that since the building was registered with the city for single-room occupancy, he just had to submit a written request to become a permanent tenant there — and his “rent” would be locked in for life.
It’s the same legal loophole that had been used by five other hacks in the building before him. As The Post has exclusively reported, the other cabbies landed deals requiring them to pay around $300 a month for apartments that can go for up to $3,200.
But Ouattara was able to net an even sweeter deal — allowing him to pay absolutely nothing — because the official listed rate on his illegal room was “$0.” And a judge said that’s what the rent for his assigned room, No. 201, would stay.
Ouattara has been sharing a one-room apartment in The Bronx with five other people since the hostel manager locked him out.
Manhattan Housing Court Justice Sabrina Kraus appeared to be furious at the Chelsea landlord. She said the landlord should have been “well aware of [his] obligations” because he had lost a nearly identical case brought by Ouattara’s neighbor, Hamidou Guira, weeks earlier.
Ouattara managed to slip his lease request in just before building owner Chelsea Skybox LLC closed down the hostel, ensuring others can’t follow suit.
Lawyers for Chelsea Skybox LLC, which is controlled by Israeli developer John Leitersdorf and his partner, John Jacobsen, did not return messages seeking comment.
But they have filed a lawsuit against Ouattara, the city and the state, claiming the housing laws are “unconstitutional” and “tantamount to taking property without due process.”