Tenant Detrese Dowridge is issuing a public response today to an offer from Sage Management owner Gil Horwitz to wipe the slate clean of her additional balance. The additional balance owed by Detrese stems from predatory accounting practices by which Sage Management applies tenants’ rent payments to non-rent balances such as court fees, late fees and “agent fees” then uses the leftover balance as justification to take tenants to court for non-payment of rent again, resulting in another round of fees, in many cases even when the tenant is paying rent on time each month. This results in Sage Management receiving judgements (often default due to tenants not appearing in court) that grant them over $10,000 in late fees and “agent fees” each month from their tenants. Detrese and others are turning down these deals. Here’s why.
I’ve decided that I will not take your deal. I have several reasons why I will not settle. For one if you were doing the right thing by me and your tenants we would not be having this conversation right now. Another reason is the Right to Housing Alliance isn’t doing anything wrong but informing tenants of there rights. You once called one of the organizers and told her that you want to make things right with your tenants. Till this day you have yet to do that but you offering me this deal but then turning around and adding this stipulation proves to me that you are not a person who wants to make things right. As I stated before we are not trying to make life hard for you or your staff the only thing that we are doing is demanding dignity and respect from you and your management company. In conclusion the only thing I have to say is No Deal.
In the hallway at rent court on Tuesday, August 27th Gil Horwitz, Sage Management owner, approached tenant Detrese Dowridge with an offer: Pay September’s rent on time, and the additional balance (that he and staff had never been able to justify) on her ledger would be wiped clean. Mr. Horwitz stated that Detrese would have seven days to respond to the offer, and that it would only apply to her and no other Sage Management tenants, and that the deal would not be used as a precedent.
Later that afternoon, Right to Housing Alliance received the following email from Mr. Horwitz:
This email is part of Sage Management’s efforts to stop tenants from organizing and to stop Right to Housing Alliance from making their practices public, including sending an email to Right to Housing Alliance stating that we are waging an “illegal harassment campaign” against them. See that email here.
Shanice Simon, another tenant of Sage Management was also offered a deal after her hearing on August 27th. Mr. Horwitz issued Ms. Simon a credit due to overcharging her for rent for several months. The additional balance left on her ledger was not rent owed, but late fees and court fees relating to the overcharging. He offered Shanice the opportunity to pay $100 and he would forgive the rest of the balance, but Shanice doesn’t think she should have to pay any of it. Shanice says “You offer me a deal for this month and the next month it’ll be the same thing all over again. You’re just trying to make this deal in the moment so you can continue your practices.”
Shanice wraps it up perfectly. Sage staff has not been interested in looking at ledgers in order to sort out mistakes with tenants, and Sage owner Mr. Horwitz has been unable to provide proof that his tenants owe the rent for which he continues taking them to court. Instead, when tenants stand up and win, he then offers to make deals with individual tenants without addressing the overall predatory practices that keep Sage Management turning huge profits at the expense of the tenants who rent from them.
Right to Housing Alliance members are turning down deals that would help them in their individual circumstances because they know that standing together is the only way to get Sage Management to address these issues that affect all tenants. They aren’t taking the easy win for themselves, but are choosing to use their strength to stay in the fight for the human right to peace and dignity.