Tenants in Crown Heights and Bed Stuy are being pressured to move out of their rent-control apartment by landlords offering buyouts. But most recently, it appears, a large number of tenants are refusing to take them, reported The Brooklyn Bureau. In New York City, where nearly 50 percent of rental housing units are rent-regulated, the rapid wave of gentrification has been a seductive incentive for building owners to deregulate their rent-stabilized apartments. Under rent-stabilization laws, if a tenant continuously occupies an apartment, an owner can only increase rents by a small percentage each year. But if an apartment is vacated or if the owner makes major improvements on it, the owner can raise the rent drastically. And then still, there’s the other option of offering to buy the tenant out altogether. But with the most recent wave of holdouts, tenants are refusing large sums of money. So some landlords have resorted to other unethical measures, such as making slow repairs or no repairs at all, to make the living situation difficult for the tenants. In Crown Heights, for example, one target of advocates’ and tenants’ complaints is BCB Realty, which recently bought up several buildings in the neighborhood. BCB refers to its buildings on its website as “undermanaged with ample upside,” prior to acquisition. Betty Rice– a tenant at 1059 Union St., managed by BCB, which has 77 open violations– complained of the condition of her apartment and the building in general, reported Brooklyn Bureau. She says workers had done shoddy repairs on her apartment, there were problems with heat and hot water, and bells in her building didn’t work. Even the new tenants who paid higher rent came to tenant association meetings and complained, according to Rice. BCB offered her a buyout, but she did not even consider negotiating a price, as she would not be able to stay in the neighborhood with even a five-figure buyout, she said.
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