The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Must Viewing - One Neighor's Fight Against Greedy Landlords

The Q asks that you consider one tenant's fight with the forces of displacement.  Woodruff neighbor Hany articulates, in splendid detail, the realities of living in an "up and coming" neighborhood. Multiply this story times a thousand or more, and you can explain that feeling you get sometimes that there's a disturbance in the Force. Check it out. Can you relate?


ElizabethC said...

I have received several " ten day notice" letters from my landlord who is 92 Woodruff LLC. This sounds so familiar!! He also offered me several months rent to move out quietly. Don't give up!!

babs said...

Unfortunately this has been going on for years. I rented an apartment at 50 Lincoln Road about eight years ago to a very nice, responsible young lady. Unfortunately the building was then owned by a fund with the exact description mentioned in the clip "we specialize in improving returns on under-performing real estate investments" (read : we kick out long term tenants). But they learned that didn't work, because the long term people knew they had nowhere else to go, so they put up with the nonsense (bringing drug dealers into the building, neglecting maintenance, etc.), so they went after the recent arrivals.

The lady bounced one check and after that they said they'd only take certified checks. Guess what? There's no cancelled check to prove you've paid with a cert. They hauled her into court THREE times, and the first two times she arrived with the receipts for the purchase of the certs and the judge dismissed it.

The third time she told me what was going on and I went with her to court. They had some horrible slimebag lawyer who, as soon as he saw me with her, said "Who is that? Is she related to you?" When my friend said that I was a friend, just there to help her, he said I couldn't be there (not true), but my friend was intimidated and asked me to leave.

I have no idea what he said to her, but he made her sign a paper saying that she owed them $2400 and she would be out in three days.

Luckily, while they were doing all that, I'd had time to observe the goings-on with the other cases and I saw that the judge asked the defendant each time if they understood what they'd just signed or if they'd been pressured into signing it.

So when my friend came back into the courtroom and told me what she'd signed I told her that when she got before the judge she should say, "No, you Honor, I was pressured into signing this and it isn't correct," which she did. At which point (and this was great) the judge actually stood up, ripped the paper in half, and screamed at the slimebag lawyer, "That's enough! Case dismissed! And I don't ever want to see you in my courtroom again!"

On the way out the lawyer cursed me out, but whatever. However, my friend was so traumatized by these events that she moved out a few months later and the fund sold the building (along with 2125 Beekman Court, 64 Lincoln Rd., and 10 Midwood St.) a few years later (kind of like those Aussies, Dixon, giving up on that rent-stabilized Bed-Stuy building:

Welcome to NY, where we fight for our rights!

ElizabethC said...

My way around that was sending my certified check by certified business mail so that I had evidence of it's receipt.

babs said...

Good strategy, Elizabeth, but what's really criminal in all that is the additional cost it puts on tenants - bank checks cost $10 and certified mail is expense too. Sucks all around.

Clarkson FlatBed said...

The Crown Heights Tenants Union started from the very idea that ALL rent stabilized tenants are being treated poorly. It doesn't matter how much you're paying...$800, $2,000. As long you're not paying market, you're not the ideal tenant. And you will be harassed until they get the apartment out of the system.

Banding together across incomes and classes and races and ethnicities is tough. But it's the only way to stand a chance.

I know Hany will eventually land on his feet, even if he endures stress and an education in greed. The family he references, who've paying renters for 30 years...who knows. And what a shame. After all, these aren't recent college grads trying out life "in the big City." But everyone deserves a chance to remain in reasonably maintained place, as long as they abide by the rules.