Tenants fight to close loophole that hikes rents

Some tenants of two Crown Heights buildings say they have faced rent hikes as high as 150 percent because their landlord is trying to cash

Some tenants of two Crown Heights buildings say they are protesting rent hikes as high as 150 percent as their landlord tries to cash in on the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood.

Some tenants of two Crown Heights buildings say they are protesting rent hikes as high as 150 percent as their landlord tries to cash in on the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. (3/3/15)

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN - Armed with bullhorns and posters, some Brooklyn tenants took their fight to keep rents low to housing court in Downtown Brooklyn Tuesday.

They rallied outside the court, chanting "What do we want? Stronger rent laws! When do we want it? Now!"

The tenants, who live at 285 Schenectady Ave. and 1646 Union St. in Crown Heights, said their landlord is trying to cash in on the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood by pushing them out of their preferential-rent rates.

Some tenants have faced rent hikes as high as 150 percent, they said.

"What they are trying to do is displace the tenants that live in that building," said one tenant.

The protesters said they have two types of rental rates on their leases: a higher rate and a preferential rate that is much lower. The preferential rate is the amount they pay during their lease, but advocates say problems arise when it is time to renew leases.

"For some of our tenants, they received preferential rent riders that say their preferential rent should last for the duration of their tenancy," said Sarah Telson, of South Brooklyn Legal Services. "When the new landlord came in ... they issued some tenants new renewal leases that revoked the preferential rent."

Renaissance Realty, which owns the two Crown Heights buildings, wouldn't speak to News 12 about the dispute.

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