On Wednesday, hundreds of people marched through the streets of Bushwick demanding visibility and accountability when it comes to
in our community and borough. The march was organized by Make the Road New York, The Alliance for Tenant Power, and
Churches United for Fair Housing.
The march began at 301 Grove St and wound its way up Knickerbocker Ave to 300 Suydam St where many community members and leaders called for increased scrutiny directed at landlords who take advantage of every law and loophole available to them in order to force longtime and low-income residents out of their homes.
Since 2005, the median rent in Bushwick has jumped by 400 dollars, which is no small chunk of change. Bushwick is a particularly vulnerable community because the percentage of home ownership is low, and most of our buildings are small enough that existing rent stabilization laws do not cover them. In addition to increasing prices and a lack of regulation, Bushwick’s landlords often make it to the top of the lists of worst landlords in NYC.
Community leaders including Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez, Public Advocate Letitia James, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer spoke about the ways in which residents are negatively impacted by underhanded landlord practices. Of course, most of the community already knows this, but the current budget negotiations in Albany could be the perfect window for activists to finally start making progress and introduce reforms.
Amanda Osegueda, a low-income tenant at 300 Suydam St highlighted the immediate problems she face due to the preferential rent loophole, which allows landlord to raise rent by hundreds of dollars upon lease renewal. At the press conference, Ms. Osegueda said, “This Friday, April 1st, the new rent that I am being charged goes into effect and it is going to be very difficult to pay it with my low income.” She is not alone.