A coalition of North Brooklyn advocates, Mobilization Against Displacement (MAD), rallied on Wednesday, July 25th, against tactics used by some landlords to force out rent stabilized tenants.
The protesters aimed their ire at landlords who enlist the city’s housing agencies as tools to help empty their buildings, opening the door for them to charge market rents in the gentrifying community. According to the organizers, these tactics are most often used on low income residents.
Dozens carrying signs reading “Stop Illegal Demolitions” and “Jail Criminal Landlords” marched outside 193 Bedford Avenue, where the landlord is accused of starting demolition of his still inhabited building, creating “horrendous” living conditions. A court ordered City inspection of the site led to a vacate order displacing the tenants.
What happened at 193 Bedford, according to MAD, is part of a larger pattern of landlords making their buildings uninhabitable and then calling on the Departments of Buildings (DOB) or Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to order tenants to move out. They cited similar cases at 202 Franklin Street, 172 North 8th Street and 167 Bedford Avenue, among others, in which landlords either damaged their own buildings or refused to make repairs, leading the City to vacate the buildings, to the benefit of the landlord who can now raise rents.
The point of the rally, said Council Member Diana Reyna, is to bring about “a full review by the Mayor’s office, the buildings department, the DA and the courts whether there was malfeasance and to take appropriate action against what I believe were criminal issues here…We will not tolerate landlords who abuse tenants.”
The tenant advocacy groups that make up MAD includes Los Sures, St. Nick’s Alliance, People’s Firehouse, Churches United for Fair Housing, Neighbors Allied for Good Growth, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A and North Brooklyn Development Corporation.
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