Tenants protest against rent hikes

Crown Heights tenants are protesting against a landlord who they say is pushing them out of their homes.

Crown Heights tenants are protesting against a landlord who they say is pushing them out of their homes. (5/21/15)

BROOKLYN - Crown Heights tenants are protesting against a landlord who they say is pushing them out of their homes.

Renaissance Realty Group bought the rent-stabilized buildings last year. Rent has gone up since, up to $2,000 for some.

"I went to the office to ask what's going on, basically telling me Crown Heights is the new Manhattan and he bought the building to make money," said resident Natasha Creese.

Landlords can legally raise rents because of a rent law loophole called "preferential rents." They can initially charge rents lower than stabilized rates to attract tenants.

When the neighborhood gentrifies, they can raise rents to market rates.

Landlords have to tell tenants about this loophole. Residents say they were never informed, so they are taking the case to court.

"We have a chance. I think we have a chance, we just have to come as a group. We have to come as one, not as individuals. We have to come as one to fight," said resident Shayna Estulin.

Assembly members were at the protest and told tenants they have passed a bill to close the loophole and are taking it to the governor to sign.

News 12 reached out to Renaissance Realty Group, which refused to comment.

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