The Real Deal New York

Landlord malice seen rising in gentrified Brooklyn

High rents incentivize landlords to sabotage rent-stabilized buildings, report claims
February 25, 2014 11:51AM

As rents continue their upward climb in Brooklyn, the incidence of landlord sabotage appears to also be on the rise.

In neighborhoods where market-rate rents far exceed the amount tenants of rent-stabilized buildings pay, some landlords have taken to bullying residents out of their own homes in order to charge new tenants higher rent.

A number of landlords have intentionally started fires, damaged utility units, and even sabotaged vital support beams for certain apartments to drive occupants out, Gothamist reported. Marty Needelman, the executive director and general counsel of Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, has seven cases concerning landlord sabotage on his desk, three of which landed in the last month, according to the article.

The article stated that one Brooklyn landlord who eliminated 15 of 17 tenants in his building got rid of the last two holdouts by forging ahead with renovations so debilitating that the Department of Buildings had to issue a vacate order. Another landlord, this one at 300 Nassau Avenue, allegedly took an ax to the water, heating and electrical units after tenants refused to leave.

Although the borough lost nearly 8,000 rent-regulated units between 2008 and 2011, neighborhoods in other boroughs, like Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Morningside Heights, lost around 10,000 units over the same period. But policy heads say in parts of Brooklyn, it’s more cost effective to get tenants out and put up a new building than it is to replace the tenants and charge higher rents — meaning landlords may have little to lose by damaging their property. [Gothamist] –– Angela Hunt

  • a dynamic for bullying

    “We see this type of stuff in north Brooklyn a lot,” said Greg Hanlon, a spokesperson for the non-profit St. Nick’s Alliance.

    Someone needs to sit down with Greg Hanlon and take a look at his case files and match them up with his innuendos. We have a great case to show conspiracy and tenant dishonesty and sabotage – we even have licensed contractors detailing how electricity was stolen not only by commercial tenant but also a residential tenant who had to have been given access by the commercial tenant. Of course, they are going to claim that the landlord stole his own electric and gas and hot water and heat. For what reason, who cares? If a tenant or a professional advocate says it is so then it must be so.

    And yes, we are terrified of more pranks especially with heat and hot water committed by tenants residential and commercial including one who is a licensed locksmith – our building systems are expensive and precious and just because Greg Hanlon claims it – no private property owner would believe him when he claims that as hard it is to believe it’s true based on his WORD as a tenant advocate.

    Look at how aggrieved the landlords were who got caught by Hurricane Sandy. he is claiming that landlords destroy their own buidlings because the new rents will make up for it – hey, why not claim that they asked to be murdered, that they committed insurance fraud, that they turned off their own heat by using telekinesis to open the rent regulated tenants’ windows in a polar vortex to give the tenants the opportunity to coordinate emotional torture upon the landlord while she is chipping away at black ice three times a day during the storms?

    Why not? The tenants are ALWAYS the good guys in NYC – no matter what they do, right? The advocates couldn’t possibly be getting way too comfortable with tweaking the facts to make their cases look even more sympathetic, right?

    • seemingly protenant news

      I wish the reporter had stated in the following article what the rent was that these newly homeless were (not) paying when they got evicted and whether these parents were working at the time.

      It’s no joke that there does seem to be a cottage industry of using programs for the genuinely needy that outstrips the conspiracy of asylum fraudsters in Chinatown that invited that long NYT article.

      • itsa gravy train

        There is this really expert grouping of articles released in succession to create the impression (self delusion) that property owners are responsible for the homeless situation and therefore laws should be heaped upon the property owners as if to punish them for being criminals when they are USUALLY not criminals.

        It sucks that a landlord who is probably a victim of sabotage (maybe even by lovely awesome tenants) is depicted in the press as the perpetrator of their own injuries.

  • FumikoMoMo .

    we are getting harassed in the N.Y. Post article
    2 years later and scary scaring tactics we are getting evicted as well as electronic harassment by interested parties to management. We had / have total 100 HPD violations and had no shower. We do to have a glam apt and my husband has serious medical issues. Please stop the bullying.