Rent Stabilization Battle Brews in Downtown Brooklyn

When the 18-story apartment building at 85 Livingston Street in Downtown Brooklyn (The Daily News calls it Brooklyn Heights but we suspect that’s just because it makes for a juicier headline) went co-op in 1989, about 30 rent-stabilized tenants opted not to buy their apartments. Now, these hold-outs contend, the building’s sponsor, Mark Teitelbaum, is unfairly seeking rent hikes as well as back rent for improvements that he made to the building back in 2004. Typically landlords of rent stabilized buildings are allowed to make certain upward adjustments in return for making capital improvements. In this case, detailed this morning by The Daily News, Teitelbaum is trying to raise rents by between $60 and $90 a month going forward as well as to collect money going back to 2004; the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal initially denied his request but recently reversed its decision on appeal. The tenants are almost all elderly and many of them are claiming health and financial difficulties. “At their core, the tenants’ primary objections are based on the impact of the increase rather than its supporting factual basis,” Deputy Commissioner Woody Pascal wrote. “However, DHCR must administer the increase in accordance with law.” Not surprisingly, politicians are expressing support for the tenants.

17 Comment

  • minard

    Only 30 tenants opted not to buy? Are you sure? that sounds awfully low.
    It usually takes twenty years for a co-op this size to whittle the number down to 30.
    Most elderly people with no assets have their rent frozen and annual increases are paid by the city in the form of tax credits to the owner.

  • $60 a month in increases? Oh, woe is them. Excuse me while I go vomit.

  • possibly not 30 opted not to buy in 1989, possibly just 30 left today….

    $60 a month not necessarily issue, retroactive to 2004 money is another story

  • possibly not 30 opted not to buy in 1989, possibly just 30 left today….

    $60 a month not necessarily issue, retroactive to 2004 money is another story

  • This is Brooklyn Heights dude. You just sound silly suggesting otherwise. Is the Brooklyn Historical Society in Downtown Brooklyn? Is Middagh Street in Downtown Brooklyn too? (see correction below)

    • no-permits

      YOU sound silly.

      do you consider the municipal building, boro hall and all the courts brooklyn heights too?

      • It’s my understanding that the cut off is Court Street.

        West of court st is brooklyn heights, and East of court st is downtown brooklyn, I think.

      • oh snap. I was reading at the speed of internet and saw the picture and thought it was 40 Clinton. (hence the reference to Historical Soc. which is 1/2 block away, and Middagh Street which lies north but all of which is west of Court).

        So yes, I was wrong (on the internet no less). There goes public office.

        That being said. I would add to the discussion that when you sell in this building you are selling Brooklyn Heights as apposed to the opportunity to be walking distance from Jakes Way Back Burger. So it doesn’t raise my hackles that someone calls it Brooklyn Heights.

    • no-permits

      YOU sound silly.

      do you consider the municipal building, boro hall and all the courts brooklyn heights too?

  • Hmm – it’s a 1/2 block from what I would comfortably consider Brooklyn Heights but it may still be. I have no idea who’s right or wrong but the moral of the story is: If your building decides to go coop, you should seriously consider buying your unit or else.

  • Hmm – it’s a 1/2 block from what I would comfortably consider Brooklyn Heights but it may still be. I have no idea who’s right or wrong but the moral of the story is: If your building decides to go coop, you should seriously consider buying your unit or else.

  • Question: why does the writers at the Brownstoner consistently have an issue with the Robert Livingston being classified at Brooklyn Heights. Not the first time this appears. First, the zip code is 11201 which is Brooklyn Heights. Second, Brooklyn Heights, while lovely, is truly the most flavorless neighborhood in the borough.
    Just sayin’.
    Now stop being an elitist and try to write an unbiased article.

    • 11201 is not just Brooklyn Heights, it’s also Downtown Brooklyn and DUMBO and Vinegar Hill and parts of Fort Greene and Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill. So, the fact that the zip code of this building is 11201 doesn’t mean anything in this context.

  • Who the hell cares! Seriously people… Get over it.
    Instead of worrying about this, why not focus your energy on how we can continue to improve Fulton Mall area? Or how about the changes coming to municipal building? Or better yet, why not think about all the positive changes new blood in the Robert Livingston could bring?? Younger people, revitalized areas…hmm what a concept.

    Apparently is it better to sit at home on your Mac laptops worrying about how Brooklyn Heights will remain a haven for crusty old white people and annoying families with entitled kids.

  • Rent stabilization is a flawed and failed public policy that should have been repealed years ago. While I don’t object to providing rent subsidies to low income households, I see no reason why a private landlord should have to shoulder a burden that we as a society should pay. By all means levy taxes on landlords in a consistent and rational manner to pay said subsidies, but don’t oblige a private landlord to subsidize tenants. While we’re at it, I would favor comprehensive income and asset testing to determine whether said tenants qualify for housing subsidies.