TENANTS have been fighting for their homes after rumors swirled about mass evictions in their New York City apartment building.
Tanya Tomlinson is one of many who rallied against the evictions of residents in a Carrol Gardens apartment complex in Brooklyn, New York this past July.
Tomlinson, who is now 45, moved into the building 18 years ago when she was a college student living out of her car.
She told local station WPIX-TV at the time, that having affordable housing saved her life.
“I’m not sure exactly why I’m being treated like a product as opposed to a person for a couple million dollars,” Tomlinson said.
Jenny Akchin, a lawyer from Take Root Justice, a nonprofit representing the tenant association, said that many residents are afraid that they will be evicted in January unless the regulatory agreement is renewed by the end of 2023.
The regulatory agreement is an arrangement between the building’s landlord and the state to keep tenants’ rent affordable.
“They are saying that the building can’t be rent-stabilized because it’s a condominium, which is interesting because the building has never operated as a condominium,” Akchin said.
Resident John Leyva has lived in the apartment complex for 29 years and has a 15-year-old severely autistic son.
“We have a building with 70 units with older people and senior citizens and we’re going to end up homeless unless somebody really helps us out.
“It’s no fault of our own. We’ve paid rent on time; we’ve been good citizens,” he told BKReader in July.
New York City Comptroller Brad Lander also spoke out against the reported mass eviction.
“Fifteen of the 70 tenants have been affirmed to have rent-stabilized leases, so he can’t kick them out,” Lander said.
“He can’t convert the whole building into a condo.”
However, the landlord, Irving Langer, president and founder of E&M Associates which reportedly took over the building in 2010, said the talks of a mass eviction are just rumors.
Langer’s lawyer Richard Walsh told PIX11 this past July: “We do not know who is spreading the false rumor that mass evictions are forthcoming in the building.
“There is no truth to that claim,” Walsh said.
As Langer’s lawyer spoke out, many tenants said that they tried to get in contact with their landlord for years.
Walsh said at the time: “Currently, the only basis for evicting any tenants is ‘good cause,'” which he explained as the following:
“Creating a nuisance, engaging in illegal criminal activity – for example, illegal drug sales, prostitution, or gambling – not paying rent, subletting the apartment without permission, illegally taking over a different apartment in the building without permission or a lease, not complying with the LIHTC rules and regulations concerning household composition, and not occupying the apartment as a primary residence.”
Walsh added: “When the regulatory agreement expires, existing tenants are protected by the same ‘good cause’ limitation.'”
The U.S. Sun approached Walsh for comment who said the regulatory agreement does not expire until 2025.