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Beep invites angry tenants to share landlord horror stories

The Brooklyn Paper
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It is show and tell and litigate.

Brooklyn renters can share their landlord horror stories at a series of town hall meetings around the borough this month, and Borough Hall may slap the worst property owners with lawsuits.

Borough President Adams says he is organizing the kvetch sessions to stop slumlords from forcing tenants out of rent-stabilized homes by making their buildings impossible to live in. The exhausted inhabitants often give in while the landlords just receive a slap on the wrist, Adams said, and the borough needs to crack down before that happens.

“Harmful landlords are playing games with the health and safety of their tenants, and they think that fines are just a cost of doing business,” said Adams. “Denying someone heat, hot water, sanitation, or other basic services is not a negotiation tactic — it’s a crime.”

The Beep is teaming up with civil rights lawyer Norman Seigel and tenants’ rights organization Brooklyn Legal Services, which will investigate the renters’ claims for potential civil suits. The attorneys will also send the cases to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson and the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force for possible criminal charges.

Thompson said he fired the first shots in a city-wide war on bad landlords when he filed a criminal indictment in April against alleged Brooklyn slumlords Joel and Amron Israel. The brothers are accused of smashing holes in floors and walls of their buildings, and destroying boilers, thermostats, and electrical systems to try to force their rent-stabilized tenants to leave.

The pair, who are now out on bail, face up to 15 years in prison on the charges, which include burglary and unlawful eviction.

As rent levels continue to rise across Brooklyn, more and more landlords are using these kind of tactics to get rid of their low-income tenants, said one tenants rights attorney.

“This is a very real and common problem, and we are glad that others are finally starting to echo that,” said Adam Meyers, who said his firm gets between five and 10 complaints each month.

The first town hall is scheduled for July 14 at Brooklyn Borough Hall Downtown. The next will be on July 16th at Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Centerin Bedford-Stuyvesant, and the last one schedule for now will be on July 28 at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Prospect Lefferts Gardens. They will all start at 6 pm.

Aggrieved tenants who cannot make one of the meetings can still e-mail their testimony to askeric@brooklynbp.nyc.gov.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Gary from Fort Greene says:
As rent controlled spaces fall farther and farther beneath true market rental rates, landlords make up the difference by charging ever higher rents on market rate spaces. It is in the interest of market rate renters to join with landlords to reform the rent control travesty,
June 10, 2015, 12:28 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
I wonder if anyone will report Tish James?
June 10, 2015, 1:43 pm
Epiphany from Ex-Brooklyn says:
It's instructive to research Adams' history of campaign contributions. An online report published by the National Institute on Money in State Politics, presents a list showing that the real estate industry was the sector that contributed the most money to Adams in his four campaigns as a state senator.

(Source: Brooklyn News Service, which describes itself as a publication written by Brooklyn College students and edited by faculty).

Here's the breakdown of money interests he courts:

http://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=4532875&default=

Interesting to see that he also seems to love the gambling industry, securities industry, lawyers and lobbyists like no one's business.

How can you present yourself as a champion of tenants' rights and take most of your campaign money from powerful real estate interests, whose goal is to rake in as much money as possible from real estate investments in the Borough of Brooklyn? Adams is a character to be carefully watched. This slick guy seems to love grab onto issues filled with emotion for personal publicity, but then happily takes bags of money from the people and industries who are on the exact opposite side of what he professes to believe.
June 10, 2015, 5:21 pm
bkmanhatman from nubrucjklyn says:
What ever the naysayers and evil real estate people say, jeep up the good fight and fight them all!
June 11, 2015, 8:01 am

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