Newcomers, Old Timers Fight Illegal Rent Hikes in Crown Heights Together

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The Crown Heights Tenant Union is helping renters in about 20 buildings fight back against attempts to get them to move so the landlord can replace them with higher-paying tenants and, in some cases, illegally raise the rent in rent stabilized units.

The rapid pace of gentrification in Crown Heights exploits both long-term tenants as well as newcomers, “many of whom are earning entry level professional wages,” said a story in The New York Times.

The group has held protests, reached out to Public Advocate Letitia James and refers tenants to South Brooklyn Legal Services. They have also “delivered a list of demands to various landlords in the area.” At least one landlord seems to have responded favorably by repairing occupied apartments and not renovating vacant ones, according to organizers quoted in the story.

The Crown Heights Tenant Union was founded by some Occupy Wall Street veterans but is not the same as The Crown Heights Assembly, according to the Times. The latter group unsuccessfully tried to change the terms of the Crown Heights rezoning at the last minute and was sued by MySpace NYC for protesting its business practices.

Disparate Forces Align Over Affordable Rents in Crown Heights [NY Times]
Brooklyn Tenants Unionize [NY Times]

One Comment

  • Quote: “At least one landlord seems to have responded favorably by repairing occupied apartments and not renovating vacant ones, according to organizers quoted in the story.”

    What an odd statement. I can understand wanting landlords to repair occupied apartments, but asking them not to renovate vacant ones? That makes no sense. Yes, vacancy renovations can lead to rent increases (and eventual decontrol) as the value of the apartments increase as a result, but it sounds over the top, that an apartment which might have been occupied for a long time by a rent stabilized/controlled tenant should not be updated and modernized once the tenant vacates. I suppose these tenants don’t want up-to-date apartments.