Gov. Andrew Cuomo led a crackdown on New York City landlords who illegally removed central heading systems at rent-regulated buildings – replacing them with individual meters that force tenants to pay for their own heat.
An ongoing investigation by the state’s Tenant Protection Unit has discovered the practice in roughly two dozen buildings located mostly in Bushwick and other parts of North Brooklyn, Cuomo said.
The violations mostly affected small walkup buildings containing fewer than 10 apartments and in total left around 145 tenants out in the cold, according to the New York Daily News.
Landlords who removed central heating systems at their buildings – and did so without the approval of the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal – were looking to force out rent stabilized tenants in gentrifying areas of the city, the governor noted.
“The MO is always the same – let the buildings rot, get the remaining tenants to leave so they can increase rent,” Cuomo said.
Housing officials subsequently noted the landlords of the violations and ordered them to not only restore the proper heating systems, but also reimburse tenants for costs incurred paying for their own heat and hot water.
Noncompliance with the state’s orders would result in “aggressive proactive enforcement steps,” Cuomo added. [NYDN] – Rey Mashayekhi