Last month on November 17, I gathered with about 40 other residents of Crown Heights in front of the Franklin Avenue offices of real estate brokerage MySpaceNYC. We were there to call attention to the role brokers such as this one play in both the displacement of long-term residents and the overcharging of newer residents. With rents in Crown Heights rapidly increasing, long-term residents are being pushed out of their homes to make way for new residents who can be charged more. In many cases, new tenants are charged rents that are higher than legally allowed by New York City’s rent stabilization laws (which generally apply to buildings with 6 or more units, built before 1974). If the rent on an apartment is raised too high, legally or illegally, it can be deregulated, which means one more unit of housing subject to the whims of New York’s real estate market. Real estate brokers like MySpaceNYC play a role in this process working with real estate investors and management companies to drive up rent.
term residents harassed by landlords, newer tenants charged rents above the legal rate in rent stabilized buildings, dysfunctional heat, leaking sinks gone un-repaired until the ceiling below collapsed. It’s a measure of the people power we are building that Councilmember Letitia James and staff from other elected official offices came through. These will be good allies to have as we continue to build pressure on MySpace, to win our demands through grassroots power. MySpace’s staff locked us out of their office after we delivered the demands, a good sign that we made an impression.