1059 Union St- Ground Zero for Landlord/Tenant battles? — Brooklynian

1059 Union St- Ground Zero for Landlord/Tenant battles?

This discussion was created from comments split from: Changes on Franklin between Eastern Parkway and Carroll.


  • edited September 2014
    the building on the NE corner of Franklin and Union is seeing lots of action.

    1059 Union,
    Edited to add: 829 Franklin, 831 Franklin, 833 Franklin, 835 Franklin


    Tenant advocates believe that the landlord should not experience increases above the rate set by the Rent Stabilization Board, while the LL clearly believes that s/he should be able to exercise their "property rights" in a way that results in higher rents.

    To my knowledge, the tenant advocates have not been able to prove the LL has done anything illegal. If they do have evidence of illegal behavior, they don't seem to have yet been able to get the city to do anything powerful in response to it.

  • edited June 2014
    Perhaps needless to say, this brings up the issue of "affordable housing", and the degree to which NYC (now under DeBlasio's leadership) is willing and able to protect it.

    "Is the city willing to forgo the benefits of having comparatively wealthy people, in exchange for the benefits of having comparatively poor ones?"

    This isn't simple matter of "more people want x than y, so lets choose x";

    Laws constrain the ability of the Mayor and others to implement their wishes.

  • This is interesting but not sure what it has to do with Maiman's Pharmacy anymore. Do you want some of these posts split off into a new thread that's more topical?
  • edited September 2014
    Sure. We have basically been talking about the efforts by tenant advocates to improve the conditions in this building for long term residents.

    That could be a good title. Have fun sorting the various posts. Thanks
  • Total non-sequitur, but that apartment building on the corner of Franklin and Union is actually where Bobby Fisher grew up.  He later moved to an apartment on the southwest corner of Franklin and Lincoln Place.
  • @mcpoet great aside. I went looking for more info on the apartment on Franklin and Union, but could only find a brief reference on Wikipedia saying it was "inexpensive." I guess there's not much more to it than that!
  • Yeah, I only found out about it while watching a documentary on Fisher that came out in the last couple years.  It mentioned that he was living on Lincoln Place, so I googled it and realized that it was right on the corner of Franklin and Lincoln Place.  It was only after some digging that I found out that the original apartment was on Union, which was even crazier, as I could see that building right out the window from where I was sitting on my couch.  Here's an article that mentions the apartments. He was born when they were living in 1059 Union and then later moved to 560 Lincoln Place (Apt. Q).  The documentary was excellent, detailing both his rise to grandmaster, and his subsequent alienation, exile, and bizarre, conspiracy filled (generally anti-Semitic) interviews (which were all the more bizarre given that he was of Jewish descent). 


    Here's the imdb page for the documentary: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1777551/
  • edited March 2014
    Here's some more info about the present fate of the residents of 1059 Union St., and the demonstration that was hosted last week:


    Making room for new people with new money isn't a pretty process....

  • New:

    By the way, I wanted to point out (in case no one else has done so already) that recently this entrance at the Franklin Avenue station has been closed for renovations. Interesting.
  • FYI--Over the last several days scaffolding has gone up around 1059 Union.
  • Uh, oh - this is getting ugly.

    Do the tenants have to take a buyout?
  • edited May 2014
    They don't have to, but life often becomes unpleasant if they don't.

    The deck is stacked against the tenants and their advocates.

    This isn't a case where "majority" rules.

    The LL takes the perspective of "we tried to be nice, you didn't respond".
  • edited September 2014
    This site lists all of the complaints against 1059 Union, and gives readers a sense of how bad that building was: 

    Now, I believe the building has been sold and is under a new owner.    They are investing lots of $ into clearing up the violations, repointing the exterior, etc.

    ....soon most of the units in the building will be renovated and freed from rent stabilization.      

    A few (very durable) tenants might resist taking the payouts and be able to endure the construction.   My guess is 20%.

    Needless to say, their "durability" will merely result in them living in an apartment that has not been upgraded in decades.    

    ....only the vacated units are renovated, because only they result in more rent.
  • edited May 2014
    These violations sound like they are for stuff that can be repaired without having to do a complete renovation. There is a line between repairing something that is broken or worn down due to wear and tear and repainting it in such a way that would qualify for an MCI. How difficult should it be to repair wornout floor tiles?
  • edited September 2014
    The prior LL let the building decline.

    The new owners are:

    Repointing the building.
    Upgrading the electrical.
    Redoing all of the hallways.
    Putting in new fixtures in the bathrooms.
    Upgrading all of the appliances.

    The goal is not to make the present tenants stop complaining to DOB via 311;   the goal is to escape rent stabilization to get the "full value" of the apartments, as defined by the intersection of supply and demand.

    It is legal.

  • I understand it is legal.

    The tenants also want to their habitability issues addressed as they should be by law.

    A middle ground would be nice. 
  • edited May 2014
    As a result of having no market power (i.e.  the LL is not interested in their continued business), an ineffective DOB, AND a housing court that has far more pressing issues to deal with, I don't have much advice for them.

    Those that plan on exercising their rights to stay might want to hire a handy man or take home repair classes at the Community College.   

  • edited September 2014
    Tenants who live in the building are being offered buyouts, but are realizing that -even though it may be more money than they have ever had- it is not in their long term interests to take it.


    I am all for people fully asserting their rights.
  • Tenants who live in the building are being offered buyouts, but are realizing that -even though it may be more money than they have ever had- it is not in their long term interests to take it.


    I am all for people fully asserting their rights.
    The long-time resident in the apartment next to mine supposedly turned down $30K.  Probably a smart move... she'd blow through most of that quickly on drugs and alcohol alone.  
  • edited September 2014
    If she ever changes her mind, I hope the buyout is still available.

    I'd hate for her to turn down a buy out only to be evicted a few months from now because she got behind on rent.

    Now that there are "better" tenants waiting to replace her, the LLs won't hesitate to pursue eviction.
  • edited May 2014
    So shady. 

    Pressured to Move, Low-Income Tenants Resist Buyouts


    Crown Heights is one of several once-modest Brooklyn neighborhoods that have suddenly become attractive to real-estate investors and the high-dollar tenants they hope to attract.

    Advocates say it’s becoming more common for landlords hoping to increase rent rolls to off four- and five-figure buyouts to tenants.

    By: Ian Marsh

    Marcia McLean is a hard-working health-care professional who lives with her extended family in the same Crown Heights apartment that she’s occupied for nearly 30 years. Her landlord had been trying to convince her to accept a cash buyout and relocate to another apartment the landlord would find for her in a less desirable neighborhood.

    She refused the offer last year, but agreed to move out temporarily while her apartment was renovated. When she tried to move back in last October, the landlord had changed the lock, saying the repairs were yet to be done, she says.

    read the rest here:


  • Choice quotes (in case you're too busy to read the article above)

    "Complaints have become so pervasive that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development has placed 1059 Union Street. in its Alternate Enforcement Program. Only 200 buildings with the most pervasive violations are entered into the program each year. Under the program, landlords are told to make necessary repairs within a few month time. If they refuse, HPD will hire a contractor to do the work and then bill the landlord. According to HPD, the building at 1059 Union Street has 77 open violations, including everything from leaking pipes to missing carbon monoxide detectors.

    BCB Realty, which only bought the building in 2013, is offering buyouts to long-term tenants while at the same time failing to adequately maintain the apartments of long term residents, according to Weaver.

    Betty Rice, a tenant at 1059 Union St., complained of the condition of her apartment and the building in general. She says workers had done shoddy repairs on her apartment, there were problems with heat and hot water, and bells in her building didn't work. Even the new tenants who paid higher rent came to tenant association meetings and complained, according to Rice. BCB offered her a buyout, but she did not even consider negotiating a price, as she would not be able to stay in the neighborhood with even a five-figure buyout, she says."


  • edited May 2014
    In the late 1990s, I worked closely with a tenant advocacy organization that was active on the Lower East Side during "this same stage" of gentrification.

    We provided them lots of education re: their rights, and how to evaluate whether they should take a buyout.

    The issues were the same. Long term tenants struggled to understand why the city did not force the new landlords of "distressed buildings" to repair the apartments of the long term tenants who did not take the buyouts.

    After seeing all of the new appliances and cabinets being delivered to their neighbors and looking in the doors at the completed units, It was as if they someday expected the contractors to get to their unit.

    Needless to say, they never arrived.

    As I walk around gentrified neighborhoods, I sometimes pause to look for holdout units. From the outside, they can often be spotted by:

    -ancient single pane wooden windows, vs two pane aluminum ones.

    -1940 era light fixtures vs track lights.

    -faded white curtains vs blinds.

    -layers of dingy off white paint on plaster vs a fresh coat on new drywall.

    Five years after the "big wave" hits the holdouts seem to have dwindled to about 10% of a buildings total units.
  • edited May 2014
    If she ever changes her mind, I hope the buyout is still available.

    I'd hate for her to turn down a buy out only to be evicted a months from now because she got behind on rent.

    Now that there are "better" tenants waiting to replace her, the LLs won't hesitate to pursue eviction.
    Trust me, the quotation marks definitely aren't needed there.  

    She's been there for many years, always the sad wreck she is now.  All the long-time residents in the building know her... and from speaking to some about her, it's clear there would be no tears shed at her departure.

    I'm not going to be actively pursuing her eviction... I recognize the larger societal injustices that helped foster such behavior... so I will bear the repercussions of what our culture and predecessors helped create in her, to a point beyond what I would accept in other situations.  That said, people like her make the work of tenant advocacy groups much more difficult.  
  • I predict others will pursue her eviction.
  • edited May 2014
    I predict others will pursue her eviction.
    I'm one of the only new (i.e. white) people in the building. Most of the rest of the building tenants have been here for many years, and they just put up with her. Mine is the only apartment that shares walls with hers anyway, so people only have to deal with her mess when her fights with her girlfriend spill into the hallways or out in front of the building. For instance, last night when she cut her girlfriend above the eye in a wild fight around 2:30am. The cops came shortly thereafter.

    Many residents of my building sit around smoking pot on the steps and in the halls all day anyway. Ours is basically the neighborhood hangout. There was a big drug bust of the house across the street this afternoon; 7-8 dudes carted off. I think it's ridiculous pot is illegal (though I have no interest in it) so I couldn't care less about all the pot smoking (and dealing) in our lobby. But I mention it to say no one in our building really cares about actively trying to chase off our crazy neighbor.

    It might not be a year or two from now, but Union Street in 2014 is still what it is.
  • edited September 2014
    Blocks with large, old rental buildings are often the last to change.

    For a long time, St. Johns Place between Underhill and Washington matched your description.

    Gradually, the landlords stopped accepting Section 8, and began investing in evicting people for Lease violations.

    Now, it no longer meets your description.

    As a result, my sense is that the landlord goes after the worst tenants in the beginning. Then, as the process accelerates, the new and old tenants help the landlord in documenting reasons why their neighbors should be evicted.

    ...at some point, an invisible new flag flies over the building.
  • edited June 2014
    The tenant advocates will be out this weekend:


    Those who live along the route might get to hear some singing and chanting.

    As one might expect, those most active in trying to prevent the rent increases and get the apartments repaired tend to be:

    - long time, female, middle age, Caribbean-American, employed residents.

    - young idealist, white, recent graduates who feel an obligation to save the above.

  • I have a question which may have an obvious answer which I am missing, but it's been bugging me... So the union wants a rent freeze (I've see that around) and making all sorts of other demands; what are they offering in return?  When you have a company which employs workers, a union has leverage through a threat of a strike, etc. as the company needs the employees.  What leverage do these tenants have if the LLs do not run afoul of the law?  They can't stop paying or they will get evicted and will be replaced quite easily (and happily).  So is it just the threat of a march/singing/chanting?
  • edited September 2014
    I agree, they clearly do not have such power.

    As a result, I have to assume they either mistakenly believe they have said power, or are putting the promise of future power out there to attract members.

    I like the parts about them helping tenants think thru what is best for them individually, but think the idea of a building united powerful "union" among and between long term residents and young "gentrifiers" is pure fantasy.
  • Strength in numbers?

    That temporary restraining order against 626 Flatbush didn't come out of thin air. 
  • That TRO is based on a lawsuit pending against HFA, not on the basis of populism.
  • edited June 2014
    I just did a google search for 1059 Union, and the renovated units don't appear to be available for rent yet.

    From what I have heard, the new owners are working on the building's facade and systems (heating, plumbing, etc) first, and hope to renovate actual apartments once they have enough of them vacant that it is cost effective in terms of labor, buying appliances and cabinets in bulk, etc.
  • If 1059 Union is also known as 835 Franklin Ave...then prepare to be amazed.
    $3850/month for a renovated 4-bedroom.
  • edited June 2014
    Ah, I forgot to search under its Franklin addresses.    Those prices are not actually surprising to me.

    Much thanks.

    Now, we need to just do a little more for our readers:

    1.  Based on the above discussion, have them imagine what the un-renovated, rent stabilized units look like.   Or, score some photos.  

    2.  Get them prices for the rent stabilized apartments.

    3.  Ask them whether they would accept the tradeoff between 1 and 2, given the constraint that rejecting the tradeoff would basically mean leaving NYC or moving to a NYC neighborhood that is far less convenient, familiar, attractive and safe.  

    4.  Have our readers realize that if NYC was to step up its code enforcement, to the degree that apartments were "more than merely safe" the costs of the resulting upgrades might be able to be passed on to tenants.   This could mean rent increases that cause the tenant to move out, thus defeating the advocates' goals of keeping a "diverse neighborhood".     

    As a result of my thoughts on the subject, I have concluded that when someone is low income in NYC, their choice is often between a decrepit apartment and no apartment.   

    The only real way to change this is to win a HPD housing lottery, in which you are able to live in a building run by a LL which is not driven by a profit motive:   

    This sad conclusion stems, in part, from rent stabilization not being designed as a program for the poor.   The tenant advocates rarely mention that one can make up to $200k and live in a rent stabilized apartment.     http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/factsheets/orafac26.htm

    As a result, tenants of rent stabilized apartments not necessarily poor, and they are treated by "the system" as if they have the ability to fend for themselves (ie the power to move, and/or hire someone to improve their apartments), whether this is true of not.
    This is in sharp contrast to tenants involved in poverty based programs (ie Section 8, NYCHA).   They are assumed to need the assistance of "the system", and there are pretty strict regulations regarding habitability.    As a result of these regulations, tenants who live in apartments paid for by Section 8 often have units in better repair than those merely in Rent Stabilized apartments. Landlords agree to abide by the regulations in exchange for continued participation (ie $) in the Section 8 program.     

    Rent Stabilization has no such carrot.   

    ...and DOB's stick is only used in the most dire of circumstances.
  • edited June 2014
    Here's one population that government ensures receives renovated apartments, without having to pay more money in rent:


    Sorry, residents of 1059 Union (835 Franklin), you are not as worthy/needy.
  • edited June 2014
    Open house June 14th:
    If 1059 Union is also known as 835 Franklin Ave...then prepare to be amazed.
    $3850/month for a renovated 4-bedroom.
    Needless to say, it looks like the landlord put enough money into this unit to legally escape rent stabilization.
  • It looks nicely done. Do I see a WINE cooler?
  • I didn't look close enough to see if it had a wine cooler, but the wine store I like to imagine is named after me (Winot) is close by.

    Lately, I have been thinking about what seems to be the central demands of the tenant advocates: A Zero Percentage Increase in the Rent Stabilization Legal Rent.

    To me, it seems as if it would punish the landlords who are abiding by the current rules, and continuing to participate in the program.

    As the difference between market rate and the RS rate grows, landlords will be more likely to offer the (completely legal) payouts to tenants and then do the (completely legal) types of expensive improvements that free the units from regulation.

  • I would be really nervous if there was a rent freeze for the reasons you note, whynot. I think it would totally dis-incentivize landlords who are willing to stick with the rent stabilization program to maintain their buildings, and could encourage on-the-fence landlords to shift into a more heavy-handed deregulation tactics. I'm hoping that REBNY does the responsible thing and votes for modest, reasonable rent increases. I like a lot of what the CH Tenants Union is doing, particularly educating people about their rights, but I think their demands for legally binding contracts are short-sighted and totally unrealistic.

  • edited June 2014
    Before tenants decide to accept a buyout, I like that tenants are being encouraged to think about how long a buy out will last, and to negotiate for the highest price.

    I fear that the advocates look down on tenants who choose to leave, and fail to understand the complex array of pros and cons that this "neighborhood change" is creating for long term residents.

    In terms of repairs, I think it would be more empowering to tenants to be provided with workshops on how to do basic ones, than to be told to complain to HPD.

    ....HPD is not going to come fix your tile or your running toilet.
  • Both sides are stating that they can't budge from their positions:


    Anyone have any predictions what the RGB will implement?

  • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/23/nyregion/rents-for-stabilized-apartments-in-new-york-city-may-not-rise.html?ref=nyregion

    We will know tonight whether or not REBNY will freeze rate increases on rent-stabilized apartment leases. I am on tenterhooks. My prediction is that REBNY will vote for increases in the range of 2-3% for 1-year leases and 3-5% for 2-year leases.
  • I read that 5 of the 9 RCB members are DeBlasio appointees, so a temp freeze may happen.

    Needless to say, those who are presently receiving a preferential rent can still have it increased.
  • BTW, while 1059 Union is said to be in the HPD distressed building program, the city does have additional tools for landlords that are far worse.

    A really bad landlord can go to jail: http://m.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/city-worst-slumlords-tossed-slammer-article-1.1838226

  • edited June 2014
    The decision is in:   The amount of the increase for 1 and 2 year leases is, respectively 1% and 2.75%.    


  • Neither landlords nor tenants advocates are happy. I think it is fair and modest, and helps to correct for several years of higher rate increases that may have caused a lot of problems for lower income or fixed income tenants.
  • edited September 2014
    Local politicians are realizing just how unsavvy some of their constituents are, and realize that everything possible needs to be done to educate them about their rights, and making good decisions when offered buyouts.

    Buyouts should not always be accepted or rejected. image
  • Today, Al Jazeera published a piece about the flipping of 1059 Union:

  • edited December 2014
    Yes, it important to understand the ways in which a landlord can legally free an apartment from rent stabilization.

    Too often, I meet tenants that believe their apartment being rent stabilized is something that can never be changed.

    Such beliefs are aspirational in nature.

    -While following the law, landlords can free an apartment from rent stabilization.

    -When landlords break the law, the individual tenant may not have effective recourse against them.

    Tenants need to be very proactive and thoughtful in deciding what strategies are best for them.

    Landlords are given similar advice, as the state has been increasing enforcement of the existing laws.
  • edited August 2014
    Oh, yes. I was aware of much of what's stated in that article, @crownheightster.

    If your apartment needs repair, one should figure out how to have repairs made without triggering an MCI-for example, repairing existing cabinets vs. having them replaced. One may want to consult with another agency (like Brooklyn Family Services) before proceeding. 

    The tenants (and landlords) also have to make sure that the capital improvements to the building/complex really qualify for an MCI. I've heard of landlords attempting to increase the rent only to have DCHR rule that those improvements don't qualify for an MCI. 
  • Yes, the tenant advocates tend to portray the situation as one in which the landlords can do anything they want, and no one is on their side.

    ....It is more complex that that. The "oppressed" and "oppressor" rhetoric requires careful analysis.
  • Although this article describe it as 1059 President, they are talking about 1059 Union:

  • edited August 2014
    Although this article describe it as 1059 President, they are talking about 1059 Union:

    This line immediately annoyed me:

    "Here’s how it all started, and where those rent-controlled tenants are now."
    I see this often in the comments on Gothamist when they are discussing rent-regulated units; they tend to conflate "rent-control" and "rent-stabilization". They are not the same thing! The units at 1059 Union are rent-stabilized, not rent-controlled, no?
  • edited August 2014

    I think this stems from there now being so few Rent Controlled apartments that many people no longer realize they were different.

    "At one point in the early 1950’s there were over two million rent controlled apartments. The 1993 Housing and Vacancy Survey (HVS) reported 101,798 rent controlled apartments. The 1996 HVS reported 70,572. The most recent HVS, from 2011, found about 38,000 rent control apartments remaining in NYC."

  • Returning to tenant organizing, the Crown Heights Tenant Union has goals similar to this Bronx group.

    With the help of attorneys, it successfully sued a landlord and recieved a cash payout for existing tenants:

  • edited September 2014
    I am regularly seeing apartments in this complex come up for rent, making me believe that long term tenants are (slowly but surely) leaving the building.

    Here's a recent ad:

    Needless to say, only the apartments that become vacant are being renovated.

    At some point the developer will give up trying turn over the units that are held by the long term tenants who are not interested in leaving. It won't take a trained eye to be able to determine from the sidewalk which apartments have been renovated at which have not.
  • Was this three bedroom a chopped up apartment? For the price, the kitchen is dinky.
  • A lot of the apartments in that building are being chopped to make more bedrooms. When one has apartment mates, the smaller the kitchen, the better.

    It encourages eating out and reduces "tragedy of the commons"

  • edited December 2014
    Unit by unit, the building goes market:

    This month, Unit 5G can be had for $3200.




  • edited December 2014
    I can't think of more appropriate place to post this flyer.

    Hopefully they get nice weather:

  • I thought these articles were funny, considering one is saying that the tenants just won a victory over a slumlord, while said slumlord cites that particular building as their biggest victory....all depends on how you define victories I suppose....



  • edited January 2015

    When you are a landlord and you do not have (or merely do not want to spend...) the resources to invest $ to get rid of rent stabilized tenants, you often make their lives difficult and do zero maintenance.

    When a landlord has the resources, you tend to offer buyouts and upgrade the apartments as they become vacant.

    Now, let's think this thru:

    1st thought: Buildings tend to have only one heating system. So, despite the assertion of the tenant advocates, it isn't clear to me that the heat failed to harass the RS tenants.

    ...this building now has a lot of market rate tenants, and they would have lost heat in this technique too.

    2nd thought: In terms of the timing of their protest and the timing of the heat repair company, it also isn't clear their protest caused them to come. It may be that they are confusing correlation with causation.

    New boilers are often quirky.

    Third thought:
    1045 Union is the building that rents to Butter and Scotch on the west side of Franklin.

    While Butter and Scotch is an "upscale dining concept tenant", the pro owner article appears current, and they are talking about the future. They may have secured an entity for the NW corner of Union and Franklin. ....the former bodega.

    1045 Union St., Crown Heights - Perhaps ZT Realty's greatest success story, upon acquisition in May 2012, the 32-unit property had more than 800 violations, was on the City of New York's worst residential buildings and was part of the Alternative Enforcement Program. ZT Realty installed an entirely new electrical infrastructure, new security system, new boiler and removed an entire line of the building to replace floor joints which were causing structural instability. Today, the property is near full occupancy, highly secure and new restaurants and retail are coming to the ground floor area, including an entirely new upscale dining concept tenant to be announced shortly, while a long-time existing beauty supply store recently renewed its lease at 1045 Union.
  • Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that part of the article, which was the whole reason I was going to post  it in the first place.  Good catch.

    The relevant passage: "an entirely new upscale dining concept tenant to be announced shortly." (at 1045 Union, the old Bodega).  That'd be nice, as that block and the block between Union and President has been a lot more desolate (at least on the west side of Franklin) without the old grocery store, bodega, etc.
  • edited January 2015
    I have added that info to a thread about that little bodega: http://www.brooklynian.com/discussion/39070/corner-of-franklin-union#Item_16

    Returning to the tenant advocacy, I suspect that the long term tenants are not going to be able to afford the costs the landlord is able to pass on to them from all of the capital costs described.

    Despite the intentions of those that pass laws, in the current market, the poor of NYC often end up choosing between really poorly maintained housing or no housing.
  • edited January 2015
    What I find fascinating about tenant advocates is the subset that pursues the ideals of "diverse communities" to the degree that they will not assist people who want to leave best pursue their financial goals.

    Instead, they act as if these tenants are betraying the advocates' desire to foster racially and economically integrated communities,

    -as well as-

    the advocates' desire to force landlords to provide quality housing to persons who have neighborhood longevity but no longer provide profitability.

    I take a different approach.

    Much to the chagrin of the above advocates, I try to help the tenant pursue whatever goal the tenant decides on, and help the tenant consider all of the pros and cons of their decisions.

    Some long term tenants like money:


    Most advocates don't understand the rules: http://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2015/01/rent_stabilization_misconceptions
  • edited February 2015
    "Governor Cuomo, A.G. Schneiderman, Mayor Bill De Blasio Join Forces To Combat Landlord Harassment Of Tenants"

    Press release from Attorney General's Office: http://www.ag.ny.gov/press-release/governor-cuomo-ag-schneiderman-mayor-bill-de-blasio-join-forces-combat-landlord
  • Cuomo and de Blasio joining forces on anything is newsworthy in itself.
  • edited February 2015
    The cynic in me believes that is the only news in the article.

    Afterall, landlords have been (legally and illegally) replacing tenants whenever they believe the NEXT tenant will pay MORE since the beginning of time.

    For those who would like context:

    As the gap between what the present tenant is paying and the future tenant WILL PAY increases, government occasionally finds it in their best interests to intervene.

    ...time will tell if government is able and willing to devote the resources necessary to slow the present illegal activities down.

  • In this instance the state appointed an independent monitor after an investigation by the state's Tenant Protection Unit. However, the landlord continues to be able to aggressively flip rent stabilized buildings.

  • edited April 2015
    Today in Bushwick, two landlords have been arrested for pushing too hard too fast (IE breaking the law):


    The real question is "Can the state put in enough enforcement that landlords will not bet so much money that they can rid building of RS tenants?"

    Without such enforcement, the proposed rent freezes are a joke.

  • edited April 2015
    Here's a well written description re: the effect the changes are having on long term residents who are low income.

    "We called this neighborhood home when no one else would. Now that its changing, our landlord wants to kick us out.

    We are the Tenants Association of 285 Schenectady and 1646 Union Street in Crown Heights, one of New York City's most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods. In 2014, our building was sold to Renaissance Realty, a speculative group that is trying to capitalize on our neighborhoods new found popularity. Last year they raised rents in our buildings between 50% to 120%: well beyond what we can afford. If we don’t fight back we will be kicked out of the neighborhood some of us have called home for nearly 30 years.

    We're calling on Mayor de Blasio to stand with tenants and call on Renaissance Realty to stop pushing 62 working class families out of our homes. Without this, we will be become homeless.

    In 1986, Crown Heights was known as "Dodge City" and our current homes were vacant and abandoned. The buildings were renovated using city and federal funds, and in exchange, were subject to an affordability agreement that designated our buildings as rent regulated. But a loophole has put us at risk as our neighborhood gentrifies. Renaissance Realty would rather see a different kind of people in what they hope to turn into luxury apartments.

    All across the country real estate speculators are buying up property in neighborhoods that were once considered hopeless. Areas of Oakland, LA, San Jose, San Francisco and New York, once disregarded are now coveted. But for the people who called them home long before the first cafe moved in, the neighborhood is more than a quick buck. We persevered through the decades of high crime, fought for better public services and made sure our children got the best education, in schools that were often underfunded.

    We fought for our neighborhood. As it changes, we should be able to stay and enjoy it.

    Our situation is dire, but we have hope. We are working with the Crown Heights Tenant Union and Brooklyn Legal Services to take back our buildings and win our eviction cases. But we need your support. When people work together, we all win. Mayor de Blasio has vowed to address the displacement that happens when neighborhoods gentrify. Please help us make sure he keeps his word. Call on Mayor de Blasio to stand with us as we fight for our homes. 

    Read this story about our building here and here."

    While the appeal is well written, unless these landlords are breaking the law, I don't see the tenants being able to stay. I don't see DeBlasio coming to the rescue.

  • Rents would not be seen as going up if they didn't first go down
  • edited April 2015
    Returning to 1059 Union (the address that started this thread), it seems the Tenants Union should no longer be marching in front of BCB Management. Now, they should be marching in front of a entity known as 829-835 Franklin Avenue Residences, LLC.


    "3.) Debrah Lee Charatan and Bennat Charatan Berger’s BCB Property Management sold a Crown Heights apartment building for $13.2 million, following tenant protests in March. BCB offered buyouts to tenants of 1059 Union Street last year, who later rallied against the landlord, claiming BCB was illegally converting apartments and attempting to illegally evict residents. The five-story building totals 42,285 square feet and includes 32 units. The new buyer is listed under the name 829-835 Franklin Avenue Residences, LLC."

  • edited June 2015
    Storefronts have no protection under the Rent Stabilization laws.

    However, it seems the remaining "long term" residents of 1059 Union would like the businesses located in the building to not be subject to rent increases either:


    The members of the tenant union seem to perceive that they have far more market power than I do.

    They also perceive the businesses as having more power than I do.
  • Take the vacant storefronts back from the landlords??? And do what with them !!??
  • edited June 2015
    I can only guess:

    I assume they would return them to the prior businesses, whom they perceive to be the "rightful" occupants and/or the ones that would be present in a truly democratic society.

    Personally, I like the "All tenants' struggles are one"

    A twisted part of me wants whoever rents THESE apartments to state they are tired of having to pay so much to live and do business in Crown Heights:

    And, then, approach the CHTU for support.
  • Yes, they demand tenant power but it's ok for the landlord to pay all the bills such as heat, water, repairs, insurance, etc.
  • edited June 2015
    This new game allows people to see how much it costs to develop and maintain housing in NYC:


    I believe the costs of purchasing and operating an existing building are similar. Otherwise, why would anyone do one vs the other?
  • Purchasing might be less expensive as the building is grandfathered in as opposed to having to build to new standards which are more rigorous. But it might pay to develop if you can get market rents as they are much higher than what can be gotten in existing rent controlled buildings.
  • edited June 2015
    Different skill sets are needed to develop a new building
    run/flip an existing building.

    I just find it fascinating how the different sides discuss the matter:

    -The tenant advocates tend to use emotional terms, instead of the financial terms used by their opponents:

    -The tenant advocates seem to fear that the regulations will be radically changed in one direction or the other, while the developers perceive gov as being capable of only minor tweaking.

    Regardless of whether how many units ultimately remain under Rent Stabilization, the overall trend continues to be a system in which fewer apartments are significantly below what they would go for at market rate.
  • This is true that fewer apartments would be below market rate. Unfortunately, there are still probably the same number of people who can't afford to pay market rate so does that lead to market rate prices coming down? Or does that mean that people who can afford the higher rents are going to move in pushing others out. I understand the emotions of the tenant advocates but I don't think that the building owners are the ones to subsidize them. And since section 8 is unable to pay market rents it leaves a lot of people in limbo.
  • edited June 2015
    Relative to its population growth, NYC is not doing a lot of housing creation at the lower end of the market.

    So, the pressure to price people out (or push them out) will continue until there is less demand or more supply.

    Until NYC goes through its next downturn, I don't see there being less demand. ....Until NYC comes up with the money to build housing, I don't see there being more supply.

    So, we seem to be in a situation where the poor are being told to become rich.

    ...there is lots of housing being built for the rich.

  • If I was doing all this from scratch, here is what I would do.

    I would look at all the public housing projects and see how many units were in a specific project. For example, Gowanus Houses has around 1,100 apartments. I'd say 'Developers, fine, build 2,000 affordable apartments for moderate and low-income people. Here they are"

    I would say: "All residents of Gowanus Houses will be moved into the new apartments at Pacific Park."

    I would execute the moves and empty the Gowanus Houses by placing the current residents into the new affordable housing for low-income people. No applications, no lottery, just "Leaseholders, you are moving. We will help you if you need it." 

    Then I would raze Gowanus Houses to the ground and build Pacific Park II, on the model of 50-30-20 affordable housing for people of mixed class and economic statuses. I would do this over, and over and over again until all affordable housing was integrated into housing for people paying market rates. 

    I would be a tyrant. 
  • edited June 2015
    I have the perspective that there will always be neighborhoods that are more fortunate than others. Humans like to live near people that share similar characteristics.

    For example, there will always be wealthy enclaves and poor ghettos.

    In some people's minds, NYC -as a whole- is becoming an enclave.

    Some want the trend to continue, others want it to reverse.

    I believe in making the best of the moment, and that includes moving should the need ever arise.

    ....I would leave NYC's poor people and rich people all behind, and then somehow fit in my new locality.

  • Aaaah, but in the new area you'd move to would you live in the poorer neighborhood or the richer neighborhood. It depends what you could afford. There's no getting away from it. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
  • Aaaah, but in the new area you'd move to would you live in the poorer neighborhood or the richer neighborhood. It depends what you could afford. There's no getting away from it. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
  • I don't necessarily want to be the richest person in a poor neighborhood.; people tend to be very jealous of them, and rob them.

    But I have concluded that I do not want to be the poorest in my neighborhood; I don't believe those who say that living on the dole is fun.
  • I wouldn't mind being the poorest in a rich neighborhood. Frankly, I'm probably the least well off out of all the people the wife and I are friends with but it never bothered me. Matter of fact, I'm really not "well off" at all.
  • edited June 2015
    While I was not poor, I was once the poorest in very rich neighborhood. Between 2000 and 2003, I lived in the one of the only apartment buildings in affluent Irvington NY.


    In general, I knew the pros and cons of living there, and could pass in most settings.

    ...but I do remember the looks I would receive when getting out of my 10 year old Toyota Corolla.

    And, I do remember the people on Metro North.

    When I sat by them they would make what they thought was innocuous small talk, like "Where did you Summer?"

    If I had answered honestly I would have said: "Um, right here. At my job making $34k a year."

    ...but I usually made something up about "summering" with friends in a non descript location.
  • I think we the state of the economy in the last few years no one would look down on anyone who said they had a great staycation. As for me, I'll spend this summer roasting at Jones Beach. The yearly parking pass was only $45.
  • My personal economy has greatly improved since the early 2000s. I'll likely get to local beaches as well as North Carolina this summer.

    It seems as if this year's excitement over rent stabilization has two chapters, the first chapter ends on June 15th when state politicians decide how to modify and renew the regulations.

    Then, the saga moves to Rent Guidelines Board.
  • edited June 2015
    BTW, any revolution seems unlikely to stem from the CH Tenants Union.  
    Photos posted by them show the crowd on June 13 (two days before the
    rent stabilization rules are due to be renewed) as being less that 50

    Screen shot 2015-06-13 at 8.15.33 PM

    While approximately 5000 people attended a pop up dinner in Prospect Park wherein guests were asked to wear white


  • I saw people dressed in white when I came through the Propsect Park train station last night, and I knew right away that the Dinner en Blanc crew had to have been in Prospect Park.

    I wonder 1) why TPTB allowed rent regulations to get down to the wire and 2) whether that's a bad sign.
  • I don't perceive any entity being in charge of Albany.

    So, I believe the down to wire thing as unplanned, unnecessary drama before their inevitable renewal.

    ....but some politicians are certainly utilizing the situation to cast themselves as being the sole advocates for their constituents.
  • edited June 2015
    Take the vacant storefronts back from the landlords??? And do what with them !!??
    @pragmaticguy -
    It seems the present effort surrounds not allowing an aspiring bar to get a liquor lic:

    One should note that their efforts to "have the landlord upgrade rent stabilized apartments" and "have their fellow tenants turn down buyouts" seem to have been unsuccessful.

  • It's hard for a group to be taken seriously when emotions get in the way of cogent arguments. So, people will continue to take the buyouts but I wonder if the ones who stay look at them as traitors in that there's less of the "old time" tenants to fight or maybe the old time tenants are just tired of fighting and it's easier for them to leave.
This discussion has been closed.