Wanted: The Buyout Bandit

Do You Know This Landlord?

New York Magazine recently interviewed "The Grim, Racist (and Likely Illegal) Methods of One Brooklyn Landlord."  This landlord, while concealing his identity, proudly described in this article what is unfortunately a fairly common practice in New York City.  According to the article, he targets rent stabilized tenants, primarily minority tenants, and manipulates them into taking lowball buyouts.  Then, the article states, he makes minor repairs to their apartment, and represents that the apartment is no longer stabilized to prospective new tenants who can pay market rate rent.  Gentrification accomplished.

This is not a new practice.  Some landlords will go to any lengths, legal or not, to gentrify their properties, but it isn't every day that one brags about this invidious—and unlawful—goal to the press. The article quoted the landlord as saying:

"Some blacks have an attorney and everything."

That's right, and we are here to represent stabilized tenants in the city against bullies like this one.  Just to be clear: the methods described in this article are completely illegal.  You, as a tenant, have the right not to be treated like this.  

Do you know tenants who need help fighting back? Has your landlord recently offered you a few thousand dollars to leave a stabilized the apartment?  Have so called "buyout specialists" come to harass you at your home?  Have your heat and hot water been shut off without warning?  Has your landlord changed the locks on your building, and "forgotten" to give you a new key?  Have you recently moved into an apartment where the neighbors complain that they are being forced out after years of tenancy?  Do you know people facing these issues in your neighborhood?  

Have you had an experience of your own with tactics like these?  Tell us your story. 

Posted on June 9, 2015 .