The anti-Ratner crew is having a get-together tonight. The topic? Democracy and Development in Brooklyn: Promoting and Protecting our Atlantic Yards. Featured Panelists include NYC Council Member Charles Barron, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and Civil Rights Attorney Debra Cohen among others.
Time: Thursday, February 24, 6:30pm
Place: NYC College of Technology, 300 Jay St. (Johnson & Tillary)
Info: 718-260-9191

In yesterday’s discussion of brownstone tax increases, there was a request for a thread on tenant horror stories. We’ll kick it off with a nightmare scenario described by an anonymous reader:

A couple years ago, I found out too late that I’d rented to a serial tenant; everything else checked out, but she’d never paid rent for more than a couple of months, then claimed the apartment was uninhabitable, changed the locks, and played the LT system for all it was worth. There were no judgments against her. But a litigation check would have revealed multiple settlements with previous landlords who had paid her to get out, as after she quit paying rent each time, she made life so unbearable for everyone in the building (screaming at the top of her lungs all night, accusing neighbors of being peeping toms, threatening to poison pets, etc.) no landlord could wait for months in LT court to wend through the inspections and evictions – all the rest of their tenants would have left in the meantime. And every settlement had a clause compelling the landlord to give her a recommendation to her next victim. She actually owed her previous landlord $16,000 at the point I rented to her; he was just grateful she’d disappeared and never bothered to enforce the judgment because he was afraid she’d kill him if he tried.

This is why we are going to try to lease or rental unit to a friend! Anyway, please share your renter horror stories and tips for avoiding them below.

Eminent DomainPeople on both sides of the Ratner stadium debate are closely watching what is happening witht the Eminent Domain case now before the Supreme Court. The lawyers for the town of New London, Connecticut stated that it would be acceptable to force the demolition of a Motel 6 to make way for a Ritz-Carlton simply because is would generate more tax revenue. Seems to be a pretty dangerous precedent indeed.
How Eminent Is A City’s Domain [NY Newsday]
Property Rights and the Courts [Christian Science Monitor]

Grandma's HouseThis is about as cheap as they come in Clinton Hill these days (though technically this is Prospect Heights in our book since it’s south of Fulton). Recently listed for $599,000, this place was on the market for a while last year too, we believe. Not sure for how much. Grandma’s been living here for 60 years, according to the ad, but that ain’t necessarily such a good thing: Clearly the place hasn’t been touch since she moved in at the end of WWII. It’ll definitely need all new systems–electrical, plumbing, boiler–and a fair amount of cosmetic work. Even with a fairly serious reno, though, we think you can keep the all-in cost under $1 million. The ad suggests you may even be able to squeeze a small rental unit out of the floorplan as well.
Grandma’s House [Corcoran]