The developers that bought the 59-building rental complex in central Brooklyn called Flatbush Gardens (née Vanderveer Estates) have tried to draw more affluent renters by comparing the complex to Stuyvesant Town, but the situation in Flatbush is starting to parallel Stuy Town in ways they probably never desired. Like Stuy Town, Flatbush Gardens is still largely rent-stabilized, and like Stuy Town those tenants are speaking out about harassment at the hands of their landlord, who they allege is trying to give them the boot in order to raise rents. There's a blog written by a tenant documenting many gripes, and now the Post has jumped in with a story documenting the complaints. Looks like landlord Clipper Equity is pulling the ol' air conditioner trick. Those rascals!
In addition to kvetching about maintenance requests dragging on and other quality-of-life issues, tenants are suddenly being charged for having air conditioners in their apartments. That's allowed, but according to an advocacy group a landlord has to start charging the monthly fee within a reasonable amount of time after the air conditioner is installed. If it's been out in the open for years, as is the case with many Flatbush Gardens tenants, the landlord loses that right. That hasn't stopped Clipper from deducting the fee from tenants' rent checks and then eventually hitting them with eviction proceedings for underpayment of rent, a costly process to fight. In a statement e-mailed to the Post, a landlord rep says they're abiding by all rent-stabilization laws. If the Stuy Town pattern holds true, we'll check back after the first dozen or so lawsuits are filed.
· Established tenants fear tides of change at Flatbush Gardens [NYP]
· Flatbush Gardens [Official Site]
· Flatbush Gardens coverage [Curbed]