As rents continue to increase throughout Queens and tenants being wrongly kicked out of their apartments is becoming more common, Ridgewood renters gathered at P.S. 305 on Thursday for a Ridgewood Housing Matters emergency meeting to learn more about their rights.
Representatives from all levels of government were present at the meeting, including Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan’s office and the office of the Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, as well as agencies including the Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation (GRRC) and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizen Council (RBSCC), all willing to provide residents with information on their rights when it comes to living and staying in their apartments.
“What we don’t have is a tenant organization here in Ridgewood, which is unbelievable,” Reynoso said. “So we have tenant advocacy groups, so to have … all these [organizations] here I think is extremely valuable. I just see that there’s a need here in Ridgewood that might have not been here before.”
Nicole Stanczyk from RBSCC’s legal department gave a presentation to inform those in attendance of what buyouts are, what rent regulated apartments are and what their rights are regarding them.
“A buyout is an amount of money that a landlord is offering in exchange for someone to give up the rights to their apartment,” Stanczyk said. “They displace long-term tenants out of the community forever and it takes the apartment that they were living in out of the rent regulated system, and who knows how much the rent will be from there.”
If a tenant is bought out of their rent regulated apartment, the landlord has the right to increase the rent by 20 percent. They do this by renovating the apartment and adding in a portion of the cost of any renovations in order to raise the rent to $2,700, taking it out of the rent regulated system forever.
After the presentations, residents stayed at P.S. 305 to get information from all of the available representatives regarding their rights.
“The turnout is actually a problem,” Reynoso said. “This is a reflection on how many people need this information and how these services might have not been presented to Ridgewood for quite some time so I’m just happy that the Ridgewood Housing Matters coalition was able to get together and this happened in less than six months.”