Greenpoint landlord sued for sabotage

Residents say Aaron and Joel Israel are trying to push out rent-regulated tenants

Jan.January 10, 2014 12:50 PM

A Greenpoint landlord is accused of disabling the heat and electricity units in his own building to push rent-stabilized residents out of their apartments.

The tenants of 300 Nassau Avenue, between Hausman and Apollo streets, were forced by the city to vacate when someone took an ax to the building’s thermostat, electrical system and boilers.

With the help of an activist group, Saint Nick’s Alliance, the renters are now suing owners Aaron and Joel Israel, saying the brothers damaged the utilities themselves, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

“He is harassing all of the tenants so that they move out,” tenant Catalina Hidalgo said of Aaron to the Brooklyn Paper. “They want all the rent-stabilized tenants out of here so they can raise the rent.”

The Israels are losing money on long-time residents like Hidalgo, who has paid $754 per month for her two-bedroom space since 2004. In fact, Aaron recently offered Hidalgo $50,000 to move out — a worthy investment if the brothers could rent the space at the average price of a Greenpoint apartment: about $2,750, according to StreetEasy.

Brokers say Greenpoint’s exposure as the setting for HBO’s hit series “Girls” has boosted the neighborhood’s rental market recently, and rents have increased by more than 30 percent in 2012, as The Real Deal reported. [Brooklyn Paper] — Angela Hunt

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