Brooklyn Tenants On Rent Strike

A group of Brooklyn tenants have banded together to go on a rent strike. 

According to the New York Times some of the residents at 1616 President Street in Brooklyn, are attempting to force their landlord to make delayed repairs in their building by withholding rent. 

A portion of the residents participating in the strike including Patricia Edwards, who spoke to the newspaper about her choice, have been the subject of eviction suits. 

The New York City Housing Authority previously filed suit against the owners of the building. In their suit they accused the owners of 1616 President Street of failing to make necessary repairs and labeled some of the evictions they filed in the building as “baseless.” 

Edwards alleges that the landlord left her building in such disarray that it literally rains in her home on a regular basis forcing her to use an umbrella to stay dry. 

“I took good care of the apartment for them,” Ms. Edwards reportedly said. “They just refused to take care of it for me.”

According to a statement from the state, on September 2, “Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a new moratorium on COVID-related residential and commercial evictions for New York State which is in effect until January 15, 2022.” 

Some tenants are also hoping the financial and physical protests assembled across the city will spur action that protects tenants who experienced financial hardship during the pandemic who will be affected by the ending of the upcoming expiration of the eviction moratorium. 

Rising rents in New York place tenants who have been renting their apartments for a long period of time in advantageous but  vulnerable positions in one of the nation’s most expensive housing markets. Their rent is cheaper but they can face other issues including delayed repairs or illegal inspections. 

The moratorium provides a platform for tenants to have their voices heard without fear of immediate removal from their homes. 

“Before the pandemic, I don’t think I would do this,” said Vincia Barber, another tenant participating in the strike. She expressed a previous reluctance to get involved in fighting against the owners. 

 “I think with the power that this landlord has, it wouldn’t happen if it was just you. It had to take certain numbers.”

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