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New York City condo developer files $25 million lawsuit against tenant

NEW YORK CITY, New York: Ahmet Nejat Ozsu has been living in a 700-square-foot apartment on New York’s Upper West Side for 15 years, but last year, a condo developer bought the building and persuaded everyone to leave except Ozsu, who rejected an offer of $30,000 and ignored an eviction order.

The developer is now suing Ozsu for $25 million and has installed a large, noisy air filter next to Ozsu’s door and mounted a security camera in the hallway. But a non-eviction rule implemented by the city during the COVID-19 pandemic could enable him to stay in the apartment for years.

According to a recent report by the brokerage firm Douglas Elliman, the condo market is surging, with Manhattan experiencing the most apartment sales for any first quarter in 33 years, with nearly twice as many new sales, compared with the same period last year.

Similar conditions have led to some notable legal settlements with holdout tenants. In 2005, longtime Mayflower Hotel resident Herbert Sukenik negotiated a $17 million buyout, plus the right to live at a nearby two-bedroom apartment overlooking Central Park for $1 a month. His lawyer, tenant holdout specialist David Rozenholc, was paid one-third of the settlement.

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