East NY community protests tenant, homeowner harassment

Elected officials say aggressive brokers are targeting locals
December 12, 2016 02:25PM

Rafael Espinal and homes in East New York in Brooklyn

Rafael Espinal and homes in East New York in Brooklyn

Community members and city officials claim East New York locals are being forced out of rental apartments and tricked into selling their homes by unscrupulous brokers and landlords.

On Saturday, the Coalition for Community Advancement, an alliance of local groups, marched through the neighborhood taking down signs with messages like “We buy Houses — any House, And Condition” and “Tenant Evictions Here.” The march — attended by Public Advocate Letitia James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, State Senator Martin Dilan and a representative for Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez — was in protest of increasing harassment of local homeowners and tenants, City Limits reported.

The coalition and their elected officials want the state to declare East New York a “cease and desist zone,” which would mean that brokers who target homes in the area would be fined.

Real estate brokers have been bombarding East New York homeowners with advertisements and sending Spanish-speaking solicitors to knock on doors, according to the coalition. One homeowner recently sold his home for $350,000, but later discovered it was worth $1.8 million, according to the publication. Earlier this year, a landlord of a rent-stabilized building tried to evict all of his Section 8 tenants. The tenants fought back in court and the judge dismissed the case.

“We are here today to send a clear message to any harasser, any Quick Evic, any solicitor out there that East New York is not for sale,” said Council member Rafael Espinal at the protest, according to the publication. “They have historically been going from neighborhood to neighborhood across Brooklyn but the buck stops here, and it ends today. We will not give up our homes that we fought for, for years, to stay and live in.”

Following a rezoning in April, East New York became the first area to be affected by the City’s mandatory inclusionary housing, which requires developers seeking a residential rezoning to set aside some of their apartments for affordable housing.

In an effort to create more jobs and affordable housing, the city plans to spend nearly $17 million on infrastructure improvements in an industrial part of the neighborhood[City Limits]Miriam Hall