Sunday, July 6, 2014
Brooklyn Low Income Tenants Say: "We Are Not For Sale"
New York City is one area that has what is known as rent stabilization programs. Any apartment building with six or more units is subject to rent stabilization laws. It's a form of rent control that prevents landlords from unreasonably increasing rents. This is good for many New Yorkers living in low-income housing.
Under the law, tenants have rights and landlords have obligations. Landlords, for example, cannot evict tenants unjustly just to get another tenant in and raise the rent. However, what some landlords in Brooklyn, New York, are doing is just as contemptible. They are trying to force tenants to move, pressuring them to take buyouts. But tenants in Brooklyn are saying no, "we are not for sale."
What landlords are doing and why
There is nothing wrong with a landlord offering a cash buyout, IF the tenant agrees. The landlord can then legally proceed with remodeling the unit and raising the rent to meet market values. What the landlord cannot do is intimidate or pressure tenants into moving. This is what many are reported to be doing in Brooklyn. What they don't get is that the apartments have been home to many low-income residents for 20 years or more, and no cash offer will convince them to move. They are just not buying it, especially when the places where landlords want to relocate them are in areas where they do not want to live.
What tenants can do
Tenants who find themselves being pursued aggressively by persistent landlords bent on ousting current tenants so they can remodel and double the rent for someone else can file a complaint with the city's Department of Housing and Preservation. New York City has strong rent control laws enforced by the state government which date back to 1943. So, if a tenant does not want to take a buyout, all they need to do is Just Say No!