Sadly, it is a very common story. Bushwick low income tenants frequently face abuse and harassment from their landlords who demand their removal in order to take advantage of our area’s overheated real estate market.
Landlords have been reported to use drastic measures, such as now infamous Joel Israel who according to Brooklyn Paper hired a contractor to punch massive holes at 98 Linden Streets’ rent-stabilized tenants’ floor to drive the tenants out and jack up the rent. Similarly, Aaron Stark collected thousands of taxpayer dollars in Section 8 vouchers, while trying to evict his low income tenant.
If this wasn’t too bad, indictments unsealed earlier this month revealed that four dozen city housing and buildings employees, property owners, managers and construction industry workers were involved in a large bribery and kickback case and were charged with exploiting their positions as gateways to the city’s booming real estate industry to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes.
A Bushwick landlord from 159 Suydam Street was reported to have bribed two city inspectors to help him get his elderly low income tenants out, according to The New York Times.
The tenants at the building at 314 Troutman Street, a 3-story, six unit building, that currently has over 102 violations, know the situation all too well.
That’s why they will hold a rally and a press conference tomorrow, on Friday, February 27th at 3:30 pm, at their building “to demand an end to over a decade of harassment and negligence and, up until recently, the threat of relocation with no assurance of their right to return to their homes,” according to their press release.
The tenants will speak out against their struggles with negligent management and harassment, taking a stand for the rights of low-income tenants.
From their press release:
Located in the heart of gentrifying Bushwick, the 3-story, six unit building currently has over 102 violations. The building has a chronic history of abandonment and real estate speculation, until its acquisition by Sunset 203k Housing Development Fund Company from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD December 2013. Sunset 203k HDFC is a subsidiary of a local housing services non-profit; an organization which own dozens of buildings in the area.
Past and present management companies have repeatedly pressured tenants to relocate from the building—under the justification that the building is in need of essential renovations—without giving the tenants any assurance of their right to return. One tenant who opted to relocate saw her rent nearly triple, and is now no longer able to return to her home. Those tenants who have opted to stay received eviction notices, which they fought in court for over a year. Despite finally securing a court agreement in August to relocate the tenants and guarantee them a right to return to their homes, the tenants have received no fulfillment of this agreement, and instead have suffered from ongoing pressure to relocate, coupled with blatant harassment from their landlord. In an incident on February 12th, 2015, an unidentified individual, in the company of city inspectors, harassed the tenants, claiming that he would have the building condemned and threatening to “throw” tenants “in a shelter” if they did not vacate their homes.
On Friday, February 27th, tenants . Please join us at 3:30 p.m. outside the tenants’ homes at 314 Troutman Street in Bushwick.