NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York State Tenant Protection Unit has launched an investigation into a major city landlord over allegations that it forced Asian-American tenants to leave their rent-regulated apartments.

The Tenant Protection Unit subpoenaed Marolda Properties on Wednesday in a probe into claims the company denied basic services, refused to renew leases, brought groundless evictions and pressured tenants to accept low buyout offers.

“I think one of their main tactics are leaving repairs unfixed for a long, long time and making conditions really bad,” activist Kathy Dang told 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria. “The construction is taking place throughout the building, causing dust and debris going into their own apartment units.”

The company owns and manages more than 70 buildings in the city and Westchester County. The state said its probe focuses on buildings in Lower Manhattan.

Dang, who heads up the Committee Against Asian-American Violence, said the wealthy landlords are going after the poorest and oldest immigrants, D’Auria reported.

“Almost all, I would say 90 percent of the tenants that we work with, are limited English proficient,” Dang said. “So the landlord takes advantage of them knowing that they’re not able to read or write in English.”

According to the state, Marolda threatened to evict one woman in her mid-80s, claiming that she was not a building resident. That’s despite her living there for 40 years and being an active member of a community senior center and religious organization.

Marolda executives did not return a telephone message.

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