BlogCommunityCrown HeightsEconomic Justice
November 16, 2012

Crown Heights Demands an End to Displacement

Rally Saturday, November 17 1pm

Franklin Ave. & Park Pl., Brooklyn

Saturday: Crown Heights Rallies for Tenant Justice at MySpace Realty Long-Term & New Residents Unite to Demand Rent History Disclosure, Building Repairs, An End to Displacement Contact Nick Petrie 914-589-8921 [email protected] FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday, November 16, 2012 – On Saturday, November 17th at 1pm, a coalition of long-term residents and new residents of Crown Heights will rally at the offices of MySpaceNYC, a real estate brokerage that profits from the displacement of long-term Black and Latino tenants and the overcharging of new tenants. The rally, organized by a community power group called the Crown Heights Assembly, marks the beginning of a new alliance of Crown Heights residents demanding that the machinery of displacement be dismantled in our neighborhood, one brokerage at a time. Onikah Evans is a lifelong resident of 1045 Union Street, a building acquired by ZT Realty this year; some units in 1045 Union are brokered by MySpaceNYC. Evans said, “Right now, they’re trying to take the keys and move people out without giving them anything. Now they’re trying to start the heat, but the heat is not hot. It’s not coming through the radiator, it’s a false claim of heat. They’re not doing repairs in the building. No repairs. Before we, used to see workers in the building everyday. Now, we don’t see workers in the building at all. Right now, my kitchen sink hasn’t been working for three days. We called the office, and no maintenance.” Nick Petrie, a tenant on St. Johns and a Crown Heights Assembly member, said, “I was shown an apartment by a MySpaceNYC Agent who adamantly promised that my landlord was responsive and responsible. The original asking price for my unit, a 2 bedroom in a rent-stabilized building, was $1900 a month. Far outside my budget, the MySpaceNYC Agent agreed to ‘bargain-down’ the price on my behalf to $1800.” Petrie continued, “MySpaceNYC’s lies became clear after living in my apartment for a few weeks. My bedroom ceiling has become deluged with water and collapsed four times. There are rats in my walls. For weeks our heat was inoperable and we had inconsistent hot water. When I asked my landlord, Elcorno Martin, to fix these problems, he first ignored me, then yelled and me and shouted profanities at me. When I told him he was legally required to give me heat and hot water after October 1st, he shouted me out of his office saying, ‘What law says that? I don’t have to do that!’” Petrie concluded, “After checking my rental history from DHCR it is clear that I am being overcharged by Martin with MySpaceNYC’s aid. The last legal rent for my unit was $1250 while I pay $1800. MySpaceNYC is profiting from the displacement and harassment of long-term residents and the illegal overcharging of new residents. As a new resident of Crown Heights, I know that I am facing different challenges from long-term residents being pushed out of their homes. I write this to be clear that we must work together to push back against the landlords and brokerage firms making money off us all.” On Saturday, this alliance will announce, “Crown Heights isn’t MySpace; it’s our space.” We will demand: Show Us The Real Rent We call on MySpaceNYC to sign a legally binding agreement that requires the firm to show all prospective tenants the legal rental history of the apartment when they see the place. This will prevent the illegal rent overcharges now epidemic on the Franklin Avenue corridor and spreading beyond that area. MySpace must require landlords provide official DHCR rental histories to prospective tenants as a material condition of working with the brokerage. Meet All Tenant Demands: Stop The Displacement & Fix The Buildings MySpaceNYC has the power to force all of its landlords meet tenant demands as a material condition of working with the brokerage. These tenant demands include: stop illegal evictions of long-term residents, stop refusing services and repairs, and end tenant harassment. We demand that MySpaceNYC sign a legally binding agreement requiring its landlords meet with tenants to immediately remediate building-level and apartment-level demands.

About this author

Brooklyn Movement Center

Brooklyn Movement Center

The Brooklyn Movement Center (the “MC”) is a membership-led, direct-action, community organizing body based in Central Brooklyn (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and the surrounding area). We bring together residents to identify important issues in their lives, win concrete improvements in their community, and build power. The Brooklyn MC is staffed by local organizers, supported by volunteers, governed by a community-based board of directors, and guided by an advisory group made up of activists and organizers from across the city

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