The accusations against the landlord, Yeshaya Wasserman, involved alleged practices in eight rent-regulated properties with 181 apartments in Flatbush and Crown Heights. The state investigation targeted practices that tenant advocates say have become more commonplace in fast-changing neighborhoods where the market now can demand rents many times higher than those paid by long-term residents.
Some of Mr. Wasserman’s tenants have lived in their apartments for more than 20 years and pay less than $1,000 for three-bedroom units, said representatives of the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, which aided the state investigation. Some tenants complained that the landlord did not cash their rent checks, a tactic that officials said relies on the expectation that tenants will not have the money to pay the back rent when it is finally demanded of them. Other tenants said the landlord cut off heat and hot water or took them to housing court on frivolous charges.