New Building Owners Raising Rent in Crown Heights
  • I'm not a frequent poster on Brooklynian but I do read the posts on a regular basis, and I'm hoping someone in this crowd might be able to offer advice on what me & my girlfriend are going through at the moment.

    The rent-stabilized building we've lived in for two years was recently sold to a new management company. Before the purchase, we attempted several times to renew our lease with the old management company. Our lease expired in May, and we had repeatedly called in regards to it and were not provided a renewal, which should have been offered since the building is rent-stabilized.

    This went on until the end of June, when we were informed that the building had been sold. The new management company recently sent us a renewal lease, set to start 10/1/2013, that shows a significant increase to our rent. Our previous company offered us a preferential rent, but this new company wants to begin charging us the legal rent of the apartment, which is a difference of $700. Other tenants with expired leases have been treated the same way, with their renewal leases asking for rents exceeding $3000.

    According to the previous company, the sale had been in works since January and the incoming company requested that no renewal leases be sent out to current tenants while the deal was on the table. We understand that aren't guaranteed the preferential rent, but this doesn't feel right.

    Any help/advice on this would be much appreciated, especially if someone was put in a similar situation.


  • If you had a preferential rent, the landlord can go up to the legal rent with the new lease. I'm sure they waited to see what the new guidelines are that just came out from the rent guidelines board. ( I know I did) before offering a renewal lease. Unfortunately, this is how the rent stabilization laws are used and abused. It really sucks to get a huge jump in rent like that.


  • The fact of the matter is owning rental property is not a charitable business. The landlord doesn't get preferential treatment from the city when the water rates go up as they did yesterday by 6%, or the gas/oil or the electric. As their costs go up and the city always finds new ways to increase something as well as property taxes yours are going up too. Not much you can do about it. Consider the time you had at the lower rent a gift.

    Disclaimer: I do not own property and rent my residence same as you.


  • You might want to try this question on tenant.net, they are much more renter-friendly and have more specific legal knowledge in these kinds of situations (my amateur opinion is that they were required to offer you a renewal lease, but I don't know)


  • There's a number you can call where people have all the answers to your questions about rent stabilized apartments. Usually Why_not has it and since he's on vacation does anyone else know it?

    Any landlord new or old, can raise the rent back to legal at any renewal lease. The remaining question has to do with the legality of withholding renewal leases? Are you allowed to be without a lease in a R.S. building?

    As long as you and other tenants were given 120 days notice of your new rent increase I don't believe you have a leg to stand on. You really need to be speaking to professional advice in this regard and most likely if you attempt to fight this you will need a lawyer. If you were to win that battle I'm sure you know that at next year's signing your rent would just go up to full legal.


  • You might want to look at some of the resources from the Crown Heights Assembly website, to do some preliminary research on your situation (http://crownheightsassembly.net/). The Met Council on Housing has excellent FAQs and resources pertaining to rent-stabilized buildings and tenants (http://metcouncilonhousing.org/help_and_answers).

    You might also want to seek representation from a Brooklyn Tenant Lawyer. Some really respectable lawyers from the legal aid community have formed the Brooklyn Tenant Lawyers Network and might be able to refer you to someone who you can talk to (contact info at end of page http://www.legalservicesnyc.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=646).


  • Although on vacation, Whynot is in a town with decent wifi at the moment, and quickly gives you the following mega link:

    https://files.nyu.edu/swl2/public/housing.html

    By clicking on this link, you will access just about everything you will ever need to know about rent stabilized housing in NYC. Read slowly. Digest. Get the facts.

    As others have hinted, just because you don't like something, doesn't mean it is illegal.


  • OMG He has spoken!!!!


  • I am pro tenant, just to disclaim and I empathize with you. I tend to believe that a lot of what happens with rent stabilized apartments is illegal. There is research to prove this. Check out Make the road ny. I wish more landlords were stopped, questioned and frisked. With regards to the renewals, they have to be made timely according to the laws, any deviation from this will not allow for any increase. Also, they may not be able to raise your rent, it all depends on what the terms of the initial preferential rent were. Do you recall whether both the legal rent and lower rent were presented to you upon lease signing? Also was there any verbiage about the duration of the preferential rent. These two factors determine whether the preferential rent is rescindable. Check out the DHCR fact sheet on this issue http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/factsheets/orafac40.htm

    Also, go ahead and get your rental history from the DHCR to assess whether the legal rent is actually legal and DO go over to tenant.net as nycgeoff suggested.

    Good luck.....don't concede anything so quickly


  • I am pro tenant, just to disclaim and I empathize with you. I tend to believe that a lot of what happens with rent stabilized apartments is illegal. There is research to prove this. Check out Make the road ny. I wish more landlords were stopped, questioned and frisked. With regards to the renewals, they have to be made timely according to the laws, any deviation from this will not allow for any increase. Also, they may not be able to raise your rent, it all depends on what the terms of the initial preferential rent were. Do you recall whether both the legal rent and lower rent were presented to you upon lease signing? Also was there any verbiage about the duration of the preferential rent. These two factors determine whether the preferential rent is rescindable. Check out the DHCR fact sheet on this issue http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/factsheets/orafac40.htm

    Also, go ahead and get your rental history from the DHCR to assess whether the legal rent is actually legal and DO go over to tenant.net as nycgeoff suggested.

    Good luck.....don't concede anything so quickly


  • tsarina said:

    OMG He has spoken!!!!


    I have. And, I have provided lots of answers and resources. Now, comes the real question: Will anyone actually click the link and see how it authoritatively links people to reliable sources?

    Or, will we soon get my favorite type of poster: One who merely thumps their chest as being pro-tenant or pro-landlord, and puts forward their unique concept of fairness, under the guise of expertise?


  • tsarina said:

    OMG He has spoken!!!!



    *Stops mournful wail* Yay!!!!!

    But in all seriousness, Ptdlugosz, I think the landlord can charge anything up to and including the legal maximum. I know it sucks but this is NYC and this shit happens. I've never heard of a place refusing to issue a new lease when the current expires except if the land lord wants the tenant. out. In which case don't they have to compensate you? I'm not really sure but you should check in to the resources people have given you here.

    Also why are you an occasional poster but frequent lurker? We're nice people hear as you can see! Join in! It will be fun of that I promise! :-)


  • tsarina said:

    OMG He has spoken!!!!



    *Stops mournful wail* Yay!!!!!

    But in all seriousness, Ptdlugosz, I think the landlord can charge anything up to and including the legal maximum. I know it sucks but this is NYC and this shit happens. I've never heard of a place refusing to issue a new lease when the current expires except if the land lord wants the tenant. out. In which case don't they have to compensate you? I'm not really sure but you should check in to the resources people have given you here.

    Also why are you an occasional poster but frequent lurker? We're nice people hear as you can see! Join in! It will be fun of that I promise! :-)


  • All egos aside, dude has a serious issue. I empathize with him. I also directed him to the applicable resources as well. No one here is an expert, I know, I don't claim to be. I know what I know though.


  • The OP mentions that some of the apartments in his building are being offered renewal leases for over $3000. Because the cap for rent stabilization is $2500, this would seem to imply that either the units are no longer subject to regulation, or the landlord is charging rents above the allowed amount.

    As discussed previously, DHCR isn't very equipped to effectively enforce the regulations it is charged with, the landlords know it, and (given the present demand and supply of apartments) a lot of tenants really don't care whether the lease they sign abides by DHCR maximums.

    Regardless of which side you are rooting for: In Western CH, the conditions have made for a Perfect Storm, wherein long term income tenants play the role of the fishermen.

    Here's a pretty good, somewhat recent discussion on it all:

    http://www.brooklynian.com/forums/topic/a-look-below-the-surface-in-gentrifying-crown-heights-published-jan-15-2013


  • Hi

    Crown heights has become very popular recently and new investors are pushing the rental market to see what their new investments will command.

    You seem to understand the terms and conditions of your preferential rent and that the landlord (old or new) has every right to raise it. That said...the landlord had to provide you with a new lease a few months before yours expired. See if that could help you...but I doubt it since there is a new owner.

    My best advice to you is to look someplace else. If your new landlord is asking for $3000 then you can get something really nice in park slope/brooklyn heights/williamsburg for that amount of money. If you can't afford that amount then I strongly recommend bay ridge. It might take a bit longer to get into the city but its much cheaper and has a lot to offer.

    I am really sorry about your situation but it might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. You might discover a new neighborhood that you would love and live in a better apartment.

    TO BKREST WHO IS PRO-TENANT.....I want to see this study you are talking about! I know a lot of landlords and non of them break the laws. In addition, we always make concessions to tenants who fall on hard times. So as a landlord who has 85% of his tenants paying preferential rent in prime park slope...I call bullshit!


  • It's entirely possible that they want people to move out so they can renovate and/or do a condo conversion, and this is the first step (as it is free to do).


  • It amazes me how people act surprised that their is significant rent fraud in NY. It's akin to the fraud on wall st. I am currently fighting this battle with my landlord. So these are not just talking points for the board. Here's the report referenced http://www.indypendent.org/2011/10/07/rip-new-report-details-rampant-rent-fraud-across-city

    http://www.maketheroad.org/report.php?ID=1939

    And we are all entitled to our own opinions on what is fair and what is not, let's respect that these definitions are predicated on our varying cultures, educational backgrounds, occupations, etc.


  • who the f pays 3k for CH, Hell I just charge my new tenants 3k for park slope.


  • armchair_warrior said:

    who the f pays 3k for CH, Hell I just charge my new tenants 3k for park slope.



    Is Park Slope worth three grand? ;-)


  • depends on what you paid for a ch place vs a ps place. and what the market will bare.


  • PS is clearly worth 3k to some. ...Just like CH is worth it to others.

    In essence, that sums up the struggle the pro-tenant folks find themselves up against: The laws on the books say the apartments are worth a much lower amount than the amount that would be determined by the market ...the intersection of demand and supply.


  • CH still have alot of affordable places to buy. that is why I'm shock at the 3k sticker price. PS has no real good deals.


  • I'll received joke. Of course who you are determines what is affordable to you.


  • Armchair-

    As you are aware, aspiring landlords will pay more for a building with rent stabilized units IF those units are delivered vacant, or (as may be the case above) the tenants do not have current leases. Lots of investment buildings seem to be coming on to the market in this manner, and THEN the units are listed at high rates in order for the LL to recoup their investment.

    Another aspect of CH which is influencing the rents is the age of the renters.

    As a result of being young, they are willing to split an apartment. This means they pay less individually (1500 each), yet the apartment rents for more than it would if the LL rented it to a small family.

    In the case of rent stabilized apartments, young tenants also mean that the LL has the potential of getting regular Vacancy Allowances (20%) and/or a tenant which doesn't care if their total rent is above the HCR legal max.

    For the young, there is no comparison between PS and CH. In PS, they are less likely to tolerate shares; The LLs are more likely to require job histories; The neighbors aren't believed to be young and good looking.

    As a LL, If you can tolerate the above, buy an investment property in CH. As a tenant, if you can tolerate the above, rent in CH.

    We now have bagels.


  • Note, perceived violations of the rent stabilization rules are handled by HCR.

    http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/factsheets/orafac16.htm

    But I think it is wise that all tenants are aware of this database:

    http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=LegalEASE_Informational_Pamphlets&ContentID=46338&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

    Like it or not, many Landlords use the database to ensure that they never rent to a tenant who has ever been involved in housing court.


  • bkrest said:

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/04/courts_will_sto.php



    the New York State office of court administration (oca

    ) formerly sold New York city court information,

    including tenants’ names and addresses, in bulk electronic form by a computer-to-computer transfer.

    in March2012, the oca announced that it will no longer include the names of tenants involved in New York

    city Housing court eviction proceedings in the electronic data feed it sells to tenant screening companies.

    the oca’s decision to omit this information from the electronic data feed is a victory for tenants

    because it will now be much harder for

    landlords to engage in blacklisting.

    this development does not, however,mean that blacklisting is over. the oca continues to provide a daily electronic feed of all new cases and updates on pending ones. although the feed will not contain the tenants’

    names, it is not difficult to match an index number to the tenant’s name through the court’s public access computer. Until the oca stops providing the electronic feed to the data companies, tenant blacklisitng will continue.

    http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=LegalEASE_Informational_Pamphlets&ContentID=46338&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

    kinda pointless isn't it.


  • Yes, as Armchair shows from my link from the Bar Assn, the courts still sell the indexes to the data. It is a little more work for the database companies, but still well worth it to them and the LLs.

    Tenant Advocates who don't inform tenants of this very real, ongoing risk to their future ability to rent an apartment do them a very large disservice. Individal tenants should not be used merely as pawns by tenant organizers in the pursuit of their larger goals; They should be given clear information, and then allowed to decide what is best for themselves.

    Often, the tenants decide the fight isn't worth it. They then move, and the LL gets then next best thing: A Vacancy Allowance.


  • The law itself is really lame, the cost will be passed onto the tenants.

    I used to do free checks for potential tenants :p. but people abuse the shit out of it. It cost me alot of money. So i just charge a fee took many unqualified people out of the pool right off the bat.

    seriously people can't have nice things.

    Not all landlords are bad people and not all tenants are good people etc..

    I been extremely nice to my tenants and I gotten burn by some tenants cause of my niceness and I gotten harder and harder just to deal with people like that.

    no good deed goes unpunished.


  • I hear you, Armchair.

    As a result of its lack of enforcement, and general toothlessness, the law is considered by many LLs to already be nothing more than mildly irritating.

    When all else fails, LLs will usually pay a tenant to leave and then submit receipts to HCR showing that they did enough renovations to the unit while it was vacant to get out of stabilization.

    Needless to say, tenants in non gentrifying areas (are there any?) don't face these pressures.


  • its still super cheap in my parts of brooklyn and other parts of queens.


  • Yes, and because of that, NYC will remain a diverse city.

    But individual neighborhoods will certainly change, as might the entire city.

    Lots of folks will leave NYC (or their neighborhood) in pursuit of a future it won't allow them.


  • Thank you everyone for your advice & help with this matter. We have contacted the DCHR in regards to finding the rent history of our unit. Hopefully, we'll find something to work with. It does seem like the new managment is trying to hike up the rent to displace tenants.

    We've grown fond of Crown Heights (not just Franklin Ave) so we're definitely be staying in the area. And hopefully I'll post more ;)


  • The same thing just happened to me. I went to DHCR in person, talked to someone, got my rent history, etc.. If you have a preferential lease, the landlord can go up to the full legal rent any time at lease renewal. My rent went up 500/month for the 2 year option and that's just the end of the story whether or not I uncover any kind of fraud in an investigation.. if they've put the legal as well as preferential rent on your leases over the years, then that's what they can legally do. I knew this day would come eventually I guess.. the woman at DHCR said very few people still have preferential rents because once they prices go up, they really jump and most people just move. 7 tenants in my rather small building moved out this month and all but 2 left the city completely.


  • I have a feeling this is going to happen to me next year. I just renewed for another year and the renewal contact is fully executed, but now they are now trying to raise my rent futher for the renewal and sent me a second lease with a higher rent and a note saying use this lease instead. My legal rent is almost 3k, ugh.


  • We are passing on the information we've obtained here & at Brooklyn Borough Rent Office (55 Hanson Place, Room 702) to some of our older tenants the old-fashioned way.

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us


  • Will cookies and beverages be offered? :mrgreen: Good luck PT and welcome to the boards.


  • Ptdlugos wrote:

    It does seem like the new managment is trying to hike up the rent to displace tenants.

    Not to be coy, but their ideal situation may be that the present tenants stay and simply pay the HCR max legal rents. This would prevent them from having to incur a lost month of revenue while the unit is between tenants.

    But, yes, they are likely aware that this hike will cause many units to become vacant (or, in the language of some: "people to be displaced"). While vacant, LLs will do any repairs and upgrades they believe are needed to fill it at the Max Legal rent.

    For better or worse, who gets to stay in rapidly changing Western CH is determined almost exclusively by who is willing and able to pay the increasing rents....


  • To those who are faced with similar issues, there's FREE LEGAL CONSULTATION offered tomorrow, July 6th, at 1pm in Brower Park.

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    Information I received from Trisha (housingcrownheights@gmail.com) from Housing Working Group:

    "If you can, come out to Brower Park this Saturday - A group called the Crown Heights Assembly is having their monthly rally. There will be a free legal clinic for folks facing housing issues and there will be other folks there who have been facing similar issues in their buildings, have gotten organized and won. When you get to the park, connect with the legal clinic folks first, then ask for Joel or Nicole. They should be able to share more information with you about how they worked with others in their building and in the neighborhood to address issues like the ones you all have mentioned."


  • Groups similar to CHA always seem to pop up in rapidly changing areas, such as the Upper Westside, Harlem, the Lower Eastside, Park Slope and Williamsburg.

    They often mean well, and are often able to find instances in which landlords have violated laws or procedures, which then results in the tenant being able to stay, or in them receiving a larger buyout than they otherwise would have.

    These are clearly good outcomes for the tenant.

    In the long run, however, the groups always seem to fail at their stated "ultimate goal": Achieving a neighborhood in which there is a diverse, sustainable array of housing stock.

    Slowly, but surely, the tenants the groups champion move out for a variety of reasons, and are replaced by tenants and owners the groups have less sympathy for.

    Slowly but surely, the LLs they demonize are able to fill their buildings with tenants whom will provide them with greater profit margins.

    If you look closely, you can still see the "Die Yuppie Scum", "Go home hipsters", "Go to Hell Landlords" and the like. Such things are carved in the concrete soon after it is poured, and then last for decades, long after the organizers have faded away.


  • The Pratt Area Community Council has been around for a while. They have legal clinics too (by appointment).

    If all else fails, they also have leads on affordable housing.


  • Yes, unless one has the means to buy or rent in the open market, the trick to stability in a rapidly changing city/neighborhood is often to get in on one of the city-supervised lotteries for rental or homeownership opportunities.

    There are all sorts of restrictions, and supply is very limited, and they are often in less than prime neighborhoods ....but they have provided a way for a portion of NYers to remain in the city that would otherwise have to move:

    Rentals: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/apartment/lotteries.shtml

    First time homebuyers: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/buyers/lotteries.shtml

    Yes, PACC is a solidly run org, as are all the orgs linked in the nyu.edu mega link. The ones which fail to grow and thrive, tend to focus on macro goals: racial justice, consensus based decision making, wealth redistribution, etc.

    While such goals are laudable, they tend to over shadow the "here and now, immediate, practical and measurable goals and needs" of the tenants who live in our present, very imperfect "power and money based" world.


  • Lower-resource tenants definitely need help in changing areas, so that their lives aren't ruined by the waves of money coming through. But in the long run, now that many American cities are becoming appealing places to live for the broad swathes of the population, and population pressures unseen since the 40s (but without unbuilt farm fields just down the new highway), we need to change the zoning codes so it is easier to build more housing units near to mass transit. In Chicago, or even Hasidic Williamsburg, housing costs are far lower because more new construction is allowed, and thus supply is better able to keep up with demand.


  • LITERALLY, the exact same thing happened to us last summer. We were to with preferred rent, but rather stabilized. The landlord refused to respond to phone calls, emails, or certified letters asking for our new lease (even though it was his responsibility to do that) until one day, BOOM, new management company asking $600 more in rent. We fought it because it was not allowed, as a stabilized increase, to be that high. We went up the allowed amount after threatening legal action. Of course, if you are saying you weren't stabilized, but rather had a discounted rent, it may not help.

    Good luck with this. We ended up moving out and buying a place.


  • If you look around at the buildings being renovated, sometimes you can literally see that there are a few tenants who are able to hold out.

    Note: They are far and few between.

    For example, if you stand on the street, you can see that two (2) apartments in the building located above the former bodega at Underhill and Sterling are occupied by long term tenants All of the other apartments are getting new windows, electrical, plumbing and kitchens.

    Likewise, you can see a few long term tenants remaining in the building being gut rehabbed at Prospect Place and Classon. All the other units are being upgraded.

    Note: Most apartment buildings in the area that you see being gutted are vacant. This is because the more apartments that rent for their full market value, the better off the landlord is.


  • Needless to say, the escalating rental prices are in part due to the escalating prices for home buyers.

    For example, this article profiles some people who would like to buy a home, but presently can not:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/nyregion/amid-housing-scarcity-many-buyers-are-going-home-empty-handed.html?_r=0

    In a macro demographic way, these folks are among the people who are willing (and able) to pay the full legal rent for the units in ptdlugosz's apartment building, and/or rent them once they are not rent stabilized, and/or BUY them in the event that the building is converted to condos.


  • Also needless to say....

    The goal of investors is to purchase properties which could be generating more income than they presently are. Here is text of an email I received today for a property "pretty far east" in Crown Heights, located between New York Avenue and Brooklyn Ave:

    922 Prospect Place: Crown Heights - 4-story 9,000 SF property that consists of 8 two-bedroom apartments, out of which 5 are rent stabilized and 3 are free market. Rents for the building are significantly below market with the current income at only $130,812/annually

    Download Setup: http://www.terracrg.com/setups/922_Prospect_Place.pdf

    Whoever buys this will have to increase the rents (either by going to Max Legal, OR by getting units out of stabilization, OR -ahem- some other means) in order just to break even on the property.

    The job of the realtors is to make it sound possible....


  • Whynot - how in the world is this information helping the OP?!

    Are you suggesting that he buy a building? Or are you trying to instruct him on how brokers price buildings?

    Yes ....Brooklyn has gotten expensive .... We get it.

    .......and since you have such interest in his situation, I would like for you to make one of your apartments available to the OP below market rate because you have vested so much in his situation.


  • WhyNot is not trying to help the OP. He is conducting an online class in macroeconomics.


  • I think I am doing a little of both.

    First and foremost, if I were the OP, I would get advice from the established non-profits I linked above:

    https://files.nyu.edu/swl2/public/housing.html

    By clicking on this link, you will access just about everything you will ever need to know about rent stabilized housing in NYC. Read slowly. Digest. Get the facts.

    As others have hinted, just because you don't like something, doesn't mean it is illegal.

    Then, the OP should decide what is best for him.

    His options could include: Moving to another part of NYC, OR moving out the city, OR paying the new rent, OR fighting the landlord's attempt to raise his rent.

    Which option is best for him and each of his neighbors depends upon each of them indiviudally.

    Sorry, I do not have an answer for the OP other than to make sure he understands the potential impact of each and every choice before him.

    ...we also might want to warn the present tenants of 922 Park Place that similar decisions and choices will soon be forced upon them.


  • This report provides a nice introductory guide as to how organizations and municipalities can create and perserve affordable housing.

    https://www.appleseednetwork.org/preserving-affordable-housing-in-gentrifying-areas/

    While the strategies it suggests are "too late" for the posters in this thread and likely "too late" for Crown Heights as a whole, the strategies are used (and fought by opposing forces) across the country.

    Honorary degrees in Urban Planning and Real Estate will be bestowed later.



  • To the OP: can you check in and let us know if you've learned anything that's helped you since you initially posted? It's my impression (and I confirmed this with DHCR) that if you have a preferential rent, the Landlord can put you up as far as the Legal rent any time you renew your lease (unless specifically stipulated otherwise in your initial lease). I don't think this has anything to do with previous or new owner, etc.. but is well within the law. It's certainly super lame for you (well, us.. I'm in the same boat).. but is there any question on the legality here?


  • Ebony??? Don't tell me you have a subscription...


  • While I find I have more in common with readers of Ebony than I do some other magazines, I do not actually have a subscription.

    "The neighborhood she regarded as hers,

    is now regarded by others as theirs.

    However, neithers' status is assured

    in the long term."

    whynot_31

    July 22, 2013



  • whynot_31 said:

    Some light reading on the topic appeared today's Ebony:

    http://www.ebony.com/news-views/notes-from-gentrified-brooklyn-045#axzz2Zn0hpnW4


    NICE! Thanks for posting this :D


  • In present day Brooklyn, people struggle to figure out the interplay between the various factors (race, class, income, etc) and then come up with weights and ratios that work for them.

    Because we are individuals, none of us are going to come up with exactly the same answers. However, -again- because we are individuals, we then have the urge to tell each other they are wrong.

    I liked her piece because it seemed to understand that, as well as the fact I perceive it as being spot on.


  • whynot_31 said:

    In present day Brooklyn, people struggle to figure out the interplay between the various factors (race, class, income, etc) and then come up with weights and ratios that work for them.

    Because we are individuals, none of us are going to come up with exactly the same answers. However, -again- because we are individuals, we then have the urge to tell each other they are wrong.

    I liked her piece because it seemed to understand that, as well as the fact I perceive it as being spot on.


    Really? I thought her piece was more of the classic "Oh god! Oh god! New people are coming into *my* neighborhood and changing it!!"


  • You are free to read it that way. I viewed it as expressing a sense of loss, because "her" Brooklyn is no longer what it was.

    It now exists only in her memory, because everything and everyone who used to live here is gone.

    I experienced a similar feeling when I went back for a college reunion: The campus had been massively renovated and redesigned, the students didn't look or even think the way I did. ...It was no longer the place it was, and it was never going to be so again.

    Yet, someone from development had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to donate.


  • whynot_31 said:

    You are free to read it that way. I viewed it as expressing a sense of loss, because "her" Brooklyn is no longer what it was.

    It now exists only in her memory, because everything and everyone who used to live here is gone.

    I experienced a similar feeling when I went back for a college reunion: The campus had been massively renovated and redesigned, the students didn't look or even think the way I did. ...It was no longer the place it was, and it was never going to be so again.

    Yet, someone from development had the nerve to ask me if I wanted to donate.


    You can never go home again.


  • whynot_31 said:the students didn't look or even think the way I did.


    You expect us to believe that used to be different?


  • As I've written before, ownership of a neighborhood in NYC is largely illusionary. The sense of common purpose, thoughts and identity tends to hold only until it is challenged. Then, people seem to either blame the challenger (buyer?) or the challenged (seller?).

    However, because there was never an explicit agreement as to purpose and identity, such blame is a losing proposition.

    The college experience is more honest. By seeing people graduate, you know that unless you carve your name in the newly poured the sidewalk in the quad, none of the future students will ever know your were ever there.

    And, now, some on-topic music from Pink Floyd:



  • whynot_31 said:

    I viewed it as expressing a sense of loss, because "her" Brooklyn is no longer what it was.

    It now exists only in her memory, because everything and everyone who used to live here is gone.


    Exactly, whynot! It's not talked about as often but some longtime residents aren't pushed out or priced out or motivated mainly by cashing out. Sometimes they leave because they feel left out of a place that has become unfamiliar right before their very eyes.


  • NothinLikeABklynGirl said:

    Exactly, whynot! It's not talked about as often but some longtime residents aren't pushed out or priced out or motivated mainly by cashing out. Sometimes they leave because they feel left out of a place that has become unfamiliar right before their very eyes.


    Another factor is the rate of change!


  • Nothinlike-

    I think it is talked about more than we realize, but --because the discussions do not occur in "mixed company" or in front of large audiences-- we are just not there to hear it.

    In "polite society", we are afraid to state in public how much we prefer to be around people and businesses familar to ourselves. I think this hesitance stems from not wanting to offend and/or endure the tired accusations that inevitably follow.

    Humans are rarely as simple as public discourse describes them, and I find it sad that people don't seem to grasp the complexities of preferences, and don't realize that everyone has them to some degree. Some people seem to condemn others for having any preferences at all.

    Money is a classic example. It is a thing that most people like, and people like to condemn people for liking.

    While few leave "lots of money" on the table when it is offered, when one moves, money alone can't buy everything that people (including the writer of the Ebony article) seem to value.

    As you allude, statements such as "well, you got lots of money for cashing out", and "you are just bitter because you couldn't buy/rent there at the new rates" don't tell the whole story.

    Whether they want to or not, some people become attached to the full array of factors that make up their surroundings.

    In the case of Western Brooklyn, things they thought would never change, quickly have changed. Their sense of permanence and consistency is lost.

    An additional thing that isn't talked about very often, is that this sense of anomie/alienation is compounded when those leaving realize that those "creating the change" openly state they don't necessarily have long term plans for the neighborhoods in Brooklyn: "I might stay, I might not. It depends."

    In otherwords, the person leaving does not end up feeling that the sense of permanence and ownership they perceived is valued or even sought by those who are following them.

    Those leaving seem to believe the newcomers should want to stay in Brooklyn forever, as they did. However, those arriving have far more opportunities and power than those who are leaving. As a result, they see western Brooklyn as a good place to live for a while: While they explore their options and become who they are going to be.

    ...A few of the newcomers might carve their name in the freshly poured concrete in front of the new condo, but as not many as those leaving would like.


  • It would be difficult to measure, but (as you point out) some newcomers might even struggle with the change MORE than those who are leaving.

    The newbies seem to struggle with the fact that they are a part of the larger environment (be it the world or the neighborhood), whether they like it or not. Like the author, some take conscious steps to NOT express preferences and tell others about them.

    However, faceless entities like "the business community" expect that they (as a group) will -in fact- express their preferences, as they have in every other neighborhood in which they have arrived.

    Such generalizations offend and trouble this subset of newcomers; They want to think that they are different.

    They want to be treated differently, because they believe they treat others differently.

    As a result of inheriting the world in its present condition, they want to believe that the groups that they are a part of (perhaps their "generation") is different than those who came before them. That they are not repeating the "mistakes" of the past.

    Slowly, over time, most come to terms with how much of life they can change. They reach an understanding of the power they possess, which includes what is possible in the present environment and what is not.

    As a result of this process, some even forgive the prior generations for sins and "mistakes" they have perceived them of committing.

    They slowly comes to terms with who they are, and to what degree others are like and unlike them. Slowly, they create a less rigid, less idealistic definition of what is "fair".

    They realize that life is not as simplistic as what they may have been taught or concluded: It can not be simply defined and understood in terms of racism, classism, oppression and privilege.

    At times it is painful to watch. At times it is humorous. Regardless, they have to go through it for themselves. Because if folks who have already been through it try to tell them not to go thru it, or to go about it in a different manner, or that they won't be successful,

    ....they (we?) will be told that they (we?) are jaded cynics, and sell outs who have become part of the machine that they believe is evil.

    Our efforts may even make them respond by trying harder, which will just increase the pain.

    Thus, our moral obligation may be to be quiet. Very quiet.

    shhhh.

    Today's Curbed and this weekend's NYT Magazine provide some timely related reading: http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/07/24/why_rent_regulation_laws_cause_all_sorts_of_terrible_problems.php#more

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/magazine/the-perverse-effects-of-rent-regulation.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&


  • Hi everyone! Sorry for the lack of update on our situation but thanks for your continued interest.

    We followed many of your suggestions, from going to the DCHR (at 55 Hanson Place, Room 702) to look up our rent history to attending the legal clinic on July 5. However, after speaking directly with our new management company, it seems we will have to move after all. It was made clear to us the the preferential rent rate could no longer be given to us, and that the new management company is trying to turn a profit on the building. We were labeled (quote) as "the victims of rent-stabilization" by the new owners.

    While our situation isn't as awful as the events at 1076 Dean, it does shed light on the growing housing issues in the neighborhood.

    In the past few weeks there has been plenty of buzz surround Crown Heights and the real estate market. Even though we are fairly new to the area (2 years for me, 3 for my gf) we love the community aspect of CH, and are looking forward to staying. We are thankful that people offered us their support and advice.


  • I sincerely hope you grow to like your new neighborhood as much as your grew to like this one.

    ....wish we had the magic wand to fix your situation, and those in the future who will be in it.


  • "We were labeled (quote) as "the victims of rent-stabilization" by the new owners."

    The new owners are correct in that respect. If rent-stabilization was abolished your rent would have not gone up and most likely would have been lower to begin with.

    Best of luck on your search for a new place. Hopefully you can find something in the area you have grown to love for a rent you can afford.


  • I came across this ad for a property for sale in Park Slope today.

    http://www.terracrg.com/setups/219_13th_Street.pdf

    I post it because page 2 clearly shows the disparity in rental income a landlord receives for the different units. All of the apartments started out as rent stabilized, but thru the processes we describe above, many are not.

    As part of considering how much to bid for building, the buyer "bets" or "estimates" how easy it will be to convert the remaining units to market rate. The processes used are documented through out this thread....


  • Today, it was announced that NYS is investigating a landlord with a property in Crown Heights for violating the rent stabilization rules:

    A preliminary audit of agency records showed that Wasserman frequently registered rents as $2,500, regardless of what the rents had been before, to allow the landlord to claim the units were no longer rent regulated, according to a press release sent out by the governor. The audit also showed that Wasserman may have deregulated apartments while simultaneously receiving a J-51 tax abatement, “which mandates that apartments remain rent-regulated,” said the statement.

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/10/closing-bell-state-investigates-crown-heights-flatbush-landlord-for-tenant-abuse/#comments


  • Usually, a tenant who is being overcharged must take legal action against their landlord. As discussed above, this takes place pretty rarely in "changing areas" because the tenants are willing (and able) to pay the rate.

    The new state agency enforces the law on its own, without a complaint being filed by a tenant. This may cause LLs to be a little less blatant about breaking the rules.

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2013/10/landlords-object-to-tenant-protection-agency-after-investigation-of-crown-heights-owner/?ic_source=ic-featured-frontpage-top


  • On July 10 2013 (page 3 of this thread), I quoted:
    922 Prospect Place: Crown Heights – 4-story 9,000 SF property that consists of 8 two-bedroom apartments, out of which 5 are rent stabilized and 3 are free market. Rents for the building are significantly below market with the current income at only $130,812/annually
    Today, I quote:
    TerraCRG has been retained to sell the multifamily building located at 922 Prospect Place. The ~9,000 SF property is situated between New York Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue in Crown Heights. The four story property consists of eight 2 bedroom apartments, out of which Seven may be delivered vacant. There is significant upside with rents in the area ranging between $30/SF to $40/SF, or $2,500/month to $3,300/month for a two bedroom. Crown Heights has seen tremendous transformation over the last decade with many condo developments, strong retail, and a robust brownstone sales market. In just a few years, rents have risen from $20/SF to $40/SF, and are poised to reach $45/SF and above within the next two years. As a result, Nostrand Avenue, just a block away, is now seeing a strong retail market with the addition of new restaurants and boutiques servicing the new demographic. Setup and Pricing: http://www.terracrg.com/setups/922_Prospect_Place.pdf
    In other words, in the past four months, seven of the eight apartments have been vacated.Buyouts have likely occurred, and/or the apartments are not covered under rent stabilization, because receipts for improvements were submitted to HCR.Needless to say, the seller is now far more likely to obtain their asking price $3M. ...and that, my friends, is how the market works.
  • The following article was published today, and belongs here:



  • I don't even know why the phrase "rent_control" is even embedded in the URL for that Gothamist post. The story is clearly about rent stabilization. People often seem to conflate the two, which hinders the conversation about whether rent regulation is still needed or whether it's justifiable.
  • At this point, Rent Control is so rare that I assume that when someone mentions it, they mean Rent Stabilization.

    Referencing one, while meaning the other, is a common mistake among people who don't work in the real estate field.



  • What is the incentive for landlords to charge the preferential rent and not the legal rent? We've had various amounts of work done in our building (upgrading the electrical, new floor tiles, new light fixtures, paint job) and although our landlord is great, I can't imagine he's spending all this money on upgrades to just "be a nice guy."
  • The LL is able to document these upgrades/expenses with HCR in order to increase the Legal Rent s/he can charge.   Eventually, this Legal Rent will exceed the $2500 rent stabilization limit, and the apartments will be free market.     

    In the interim, it makes sense for s/he to charge you a Preferential Rent because you (and your neighbors) are a steady stream of income.     

    The LL is basically foregoing some of the rent increases they could implement, in exchange for not having to fill apartments that may become vacant as a result of rent increases.

    In the future, the LL can either increase the rents all at once, or sell the building to someone who will. 

        


  • This article about the conflict between the residents of a building located on Franklin Avenue and Union, and its new landlord.

    http://www.bkbureau.org/2014/03/03/tenants-form-union-to-fight-gentrification/
  • Thanks @whynot_31

    Here's a link to an MCI (Major Capital Improvements) fact sheet that I found pretty helpful, relating to my post above

    http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/factsheets/orafac24.pdf

  • Yes, as alluded to above, buildings with rent stabilized apartments in them are being purchased for so much money that the new owners have to get rid of long term tenants in order to make any money.

    The new owners are willing to pay this much because they are confident that the city will not enforce the existing regulations, and/or that they will be able to get the apartments out of rent stabilization via methods that are legal. Both varieties of "methods" are discussed above.

    There are not many moderates in the field of tenant advocacy. For example, the group discussed in this article would like tenants to have rights that are not presently established:

    http://www.brownstoner.com/blog/2014/03/crown-heights-tenants-form-union-to-fight-displacement-rising-rents/?ic_source=ic-featured-frontpage-top
  • This comment on The Real Deal made me smile (edited for grammar), because it describes a structural conflict:

    "The tenants protest that landlords are offering buyouts.

    What next? Protest under market rent they pay?
    How about protesting the fact they have to turn on the faucet to get water.

    Shouldn't the evil landlords know when the tenant needs water, and turn it on for them?

    Heck these guys would protest that they have to pay rent at all.

    Had one tenant last week who flooded out his apartment.

    Says the drain was clogged and its my fault. Even if it was my fault why didn't he shut the water once he saw that bathtub was overflowing?

    Anyway I Offered him a buyout and he accepted. After I redo apartment the rent is going to be nearly double what the guy was paying. And I also get a higher quality tenant. Yipee!"


    http://therealdeal.com/blog/2014/03/06/crown-heights-residents-rally-against-displacement/

    related reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_theories
  • When some of my tenants call me when they hear one mouse scratching in the wall or if the bathroom sink gets clogged with their hair. I pull out the hair and show it to them; and pay the exterminater $175 to bait this one mouse and he tells them to put down a glue trap. Then, when the lease is up am I not to raise the rent?
  • Dawndew thats class A bullsh!t and you know it! 

    Where there is one mouse there mostly likely several more. If all your exterminator is doing is putting down glue traps then you need a new one. A good exterminator goes around finds where the mice are getting in and either tells you about them or seals them.

    Yes you have bad tenants. It's part of the business. Neither of these is the real reason landlords are raising rents and pricing GOOD tenants out! Their doing it because they can and want to make more money. That too is part of the business. I've come to accept it but you should at least of the decency to be honest about it. Your not raising rents to punish your tenants but cause you can!

     
  • These two items may help.    

    The first is that price for a given unit is naturally the intersection of demand and supply, and government has been ineffective at changing this:


    final_paper_html_m33ae3f3f

    The second is to understand the ways in which gov tries to change nature, in the pursuit of providing tenants some modicum of rights.   I really wish government was more effective at achieving some of these things than it is:


  • bkrest said:

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/04/courts_will_sto.php



    the New York State office of court administration (oca

    ) formerly sold New York city court information,

    including tenants’ names and addresses, in bulk electronic form by a computer-to-computer transfer.

    in March2012, the oca announced that it will no longer include the names of tenants involved in New York

    city Housing court eviction proceedings in the electronic data feed it sells to tenant screening companies.

    the oca’s decision to omit this information from the electronic data feed is a victory for tenants

    because it will now be much harder for

    landlords to engage in blacklisting.

    this development does not, however,mean that blacklisting is over. the oca continues to provide a daily electronic feed of all new cases and updates on pending ones. although the feed will not contain the tenants’

    names, it is not difficult to match an index number to the tenant’s name through the court’s public access computer. Until the oca stops providing the electronic feed to the data companies, tenant blacklisitng will continue.

    http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=LegalEASE_Informational_Pamphlets&ContentID=46338&Template=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm

    kinda pointless isn't it.




    May 2014 Update:
    Housing Court is still selling the names of every tenant that is brought to Housing Court.

  • Crown Heights,

    This broker markets investment properties.   He is wise enough to not provide the exact addresses, but by reading through it, you could reach the conclusion that the building you presently rent in is very likely to change hands:
  • newguy88 said:

    Dawndew thats class A bullsh!t and you know it! 


    Where there is one mouse there mostly likely several more. If all your exterminator is doing is putting down glue traps then you need a new one. A good exterminator goes around finds where the mice are getting in and either tells you about them or seals them.

    Yes you have bad tenants. It's part of the business. Neither of these is the real reason landlords are raising rents and pricing GOOD tenants out! Their doing it because they can and want to make more money. That too is part of the business. I've come to accept it but you should at least of the decency to be honest about it. Your not raising rents to punish your tenants but cause you can!

     


    I didn't mean to quote it all but, Gee, Newguy are you irritable,?  Life is too short to spend it punishing tenants. I am just saying, if your going to be a prima donna tenant you have to cover the costs.  If houses were not an investment no one would buy them or rent space to others.
  • Yes, despite all of the regulations, landlords have the right to make money off their property.    These rights include using buyouts as a method of getting long term tenants to vacate their apartments.

    This flyer provides long term tenants information on what they should do if they are offered a buyout:

    I've seen a lot of long term tenants take really low buyout offers, because it was the most money they ever saw at one time in their life.

    If they haven't received an offer yet, it is very likely they will in the future.   This article tells the story of how many people have moved into to Brooklyn, versus how many new units have been constructed:


  • 770 St. Marks Avenue
    637 St. Marks Avenue
    and 24-30 Rogers Avenue

    You are next.

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