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Imagine a World Without Landlords! For Some, It Exists

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Yikes, a few months of rough times and suddenly we're mired in a dystopian future where fuel is scarce and law and order has begun to break down. Actually we lifted most of that from Wikipedia's plot summary for Mad Max, but this Times story on the decrepit state of some landlord-abandoned apartment buildings throughout the city certainly bangs home that message. Holy '70s, Batman:

In the Bronx, anybody can walk into the four-story building at 422 East 178th Street. Someone took the front door off the hinges and sold it for scrap metal. Drugs have been sold out of vacant apartments. "A nightmare," said Cesar Guzman, 29, who lives in the building. "I can't describe it as anything else."

In Brooklyn, a woman at 76 Newport Street said the landlord disappeared this year and stopped collecting rent, so she stopped paying it. A 19-year-old man in Apartment 1F has become the unofficial superintendent, sealing holes in ceilings with cardboard and duct tape.

That's 422 East 178th Street at right, looking decidedly non-hellish in PropertyShark's 2007 photo. Many blame the frail state of these and other buildings on investors (and banks) who snapped up largely rent-stabilized properties at the height of the market, only to stop putting money into the properties when wildly unrealistic profit predictions didn't pan out. The credit crunch has thrown a wrench in that practice, but the East Village is not taking any chances.

At 504-508 East 12th Street (between Avenues A and B), on the market for $15 million, tenants are worried over who they'll eventually be sending rent checks to. Instead of sitting around, twiddling their thumbs, they've gone on the offensive and issued a strong warning?via signage! It's good for potential owners to know that tenants will not stand for aggressive evictions, instead preferring the softer, gentler kind.
· Struggling Landlords Leaving Repairs Undone [NYT]
· At 504-508 E. 12th Street: Buyers beware [EV Grieve]