Forum Archives

Click here to join the conversation on the live forum.



My kids go to school in Downtown Brooklyn/Ft. Greene & we are looking to rent a 2BR for $2,500 or less. Safety & parking are our big concerns. Which nabe nearby would you look in?


I recently moved into a basement duplex in Brooklyn. The first month here, my basement was flooded with about 2-3 inches of water/mud. The water came up from the drain hole in the basement.

My landlord said it was the city’s fault that the basement flooded because they had added tree pits to the sidewalk and in doing so, creating a crack in the street which allowed water to come into the basement. Days later, the city fixed the hole in the street and I assumed everything would be okay.

This month, during the heavy rain, the basement was flooded once again. The water came in from the drain hole in the basement and when we notified the landlord, they had the super come and plug the hole up as a temporary fix. Later that night, there was heavy rain once again. This time, the water came in from various holes in the baseboards as well as a hole behind the washer/dryer closet. The water had nowhere to escape since the drain hole had been plugged up the night before so the water level slowly rose in the basement as the rain went on.

I called 311 the morning after the third flooding and had an inspector come to check out the issue. He said he did not see any issues with the street/tree pits and that nobody else on the block had been flooded.

Is my landlord at fault for any of this? I believe the building/basement has serious construction issues. The drain hole should not allow water to come INTO the basement and even if the water level rises outside, the basement should be properly sealed in order to prevent water from entering, correct? The landlord is making changes to the backyard and the two drains, which I don’t understand — if it’s the city’s fault, why would the landlord be fixing anything? Also, the city has come and filled in all the tree pits with cement so there are no longer any holes on the sidewalk. It hasn’t rained again since so I am not sure if things are fixed or not.

What should I do next? Am I entitled to any form of reimbursement for the property damage, wasted time cleaning up the mess, and/or not being able to use the basement during that time? I don’t even know if I want to move my furniture back down there because it might flood again. What are my rights as far as ending my lease? I signed a year long lease and it’s only 3 months in. I do not have renter’s insurance at the moment. Any opinions?


hi – i recently made a $500 check deposit to put down to hold an apt. for future viewing. the landlord accepted my application. the apt. is being renovated, which is why no lease was signed at that time. both the landlord and super have been very amendable so far. but yesterday, i sent an email to the landlord to get a firm move date, so i can book movers, cable guy, etc. and, also to sign my lease. we both agreed to not sign a lease at the time of the deposit because the place needs massive renovations.

i find it odd that he hasn’t at least responded to say that he’ll see how far along the place is and get back to me.

any thoughts? am i just being paranoid? probably, hopefully. just curious about others have reacted in similar situations. i will try calling tomorrow, if i don’t get a response.



I’m contemplating renting my currently unoccupied garden apt. to a business for a 6-month period…assuming the tenant won’t pay cash, do I need to worry about paying taxes on the rent/mucking up my tax situation/etc.?


Craigslist is no longer usable. The site is saturated with scammers and the quality of listings are terrible.

Besides individual RE companies, is there another place to peruse rental listings in Brooklyn? I also heard of “secret” brooklyn housing email lists floating around…?

PS. If anyone wants to rent a studio in a good area to an amazing tenant, I’m here. 🙂


A few days ago the ceiling in the living room of my apartment collapsed. I live with roommates and we all rent month-to-month. The roommate who has been here longest collects our rent checks and writes a single check himself to the landlady, who lives in the building and is 83 years old.

The collapse was during some especially rainy days, and my room, off the living room, was the most directly affected. When I say collapsed, I don’t mean a little bit of plaster. I mean huge chunks of stucco that shook the wooden floors when they fell. Left a hole of about four feet. Could have very seriously injured someone, and I am not exaggerating on this point. I was home alone. I collected my landlady and my roommates within the hour, and then we were all there to witness how a second huge chunk came crashing down. This was about 6 pm, and the landlady called the maintenance guy she uses for the building. At about 9 pm he arrived to say that he could do nothing that night and that whoever was living in the room off the living room (that would be me) should sleep elsewhere. The landlady refused to put me up in a hotel and since I had nowhere else to go, I camped out in my own room, stepping over the rubble.

There had been water marks in the living room stucco ceiling even before I moved in (about 3 months prior). Within a couple of days of this collapse, my roommates reported that two other rooms in the apartment were experiencing leaks. The landlord apparently knew that these leaks existed (a couple of us are quite new to the apartment) and had done nothing about them. I have heard tell that there had been some issues with the roof when the previous tenants were here, but it seems that the modus operandi of this landlord is to do as little as possible in such circumstances. All indications would suggest that the living room ceiling collapsing is also due to the obviously badly leaky roof. My landlady wants to claim absurdities like: the ceiling collapsed because someone had drilled a hole to install a light fixture (this can’t possibly be the reason, as the light fixture had been installed for many months before the collapse). She has denied the wooden beams underneath the stucco being wet so forcefully and repeatedly, even before anyone suggested this, that it has to make you wonder.

They’ve since slapped on some sheet rock to cover the moldy, wet beams. I don’t care to think about what’s really under there or how long it will be before we see more rot or collapse. As background: this building is filthy and decrepit in every way. The bathroom tiles are falling out, exposing swatches of years-old moldy gunk underneath. No one had taken a vacuum cleaner to the stairwell in years, until I very recently and very loudly complained about it. There is simply NO maintenance of this building, period. In addition, my landlady’s dealings with me are clearly in bad faith. She has often, and absurdly, denied problems which I can plainly see with my own eyes. “I don’t see a water stain there” she answers when it is pointed out to her. Come on!

Clearly I need to move out and quickly. Clearly, I have little faith that issues can be negotiated as though among reasonable adults. My question is: do I actually have to have had a piece of stucco fall on my head in order for the danger to my health and safety to be eminently clear? I feel that some serious abuse is going on here and would like for the landlord, at minimum, to acknowledge the ordeal of the past days by paying my moving expenses to a new place. An inspector came by to see the premises at the stage in the disaster when workers had already scraped off the entire stucco ceiling and left the naked beams above. The landlord was issued a class B violation , and now, as a result, the workers slapped on this layer of sheet rock. Ostensibly, this is supposed to fix the problem and get the inspector to go away.

What I’d like is for the landlord to pay the broker’s fee for my finding a new apartment and the cost of hiring a truck to move my things, so about $3000. Does anyone have any advice for how to achieve this? I’m a pragmatist and would just like to find a way of negotiating my exit out of this nightmare. Clearly the landlord and her family have no intention of paying anything unless they feel some greater financial threat. Advice?


Is it possible for the owner of a rent stabilized apartment to owner occupy the unit when the lease is up? I’ve heard stories where they can owner occupy a building to convert it to a single family if it will be for their own use. It’s the same principle here, it would be for the owners use. I will obviously consult a lawyer but I’ve read the posts here a few times and think they’re pretty helpful so I figured I’d ask. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks


My boyfriend is looking into moving into an apartment on Wyckoff Ave near the Dekalb Ave/L train subway stop. I’ve read a lot about the area, and have heard that some parts of Buskwick are okay, while others can be incredibly dangerous. I’m very concerned about our safety, especially because he works a lot at night and would often be coming home at 2 or 3 in the morning.

The plus side: his building is nice and he’s literally steps away from the subway. But with everything I’ve heard about the area and gangs riding the L train, I’m still very concerned.

So my two questions:

1. How safe is this particular part of Bushwick?

2. How safe is the L train at night?


Hi Brownstoners!

For the past few weeks I’ve been on a difficult rental journey trying to find a 3br place, tight budget, preferably with no or a low brokers fee. We also need good access to subways. Occasionally we find a gem on Craigslist, but it’s like bloodsport securing those places. After a few fell through our fingers, we pulled our act together and are ready to lay down money at the first great thing we see.

We just checked out a place on butler between 4th and 5th, heinous exterior, good interior, good price, and directly across the street from the soon-to-be PS 133 demo. While we like that it’s close to 5th Ave and subways, we’re a little more hesitant being neighbors with a demolition site, in a building that is truly a sight for sore eyes. But if that interior was in most any other location in the slope, I’d take it in a second.

Whaddya think? Bite the bullet and take this place, even though my gut is uneasy while reason tells me to get over it? Has anyone had apartment searching experiences this close to move in dates? Do good things even come up this late in the game?