Sunset Park

Adams to hold Sunset Park tenants’ rights workshop

May 20, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Borough President Eric Adams cited a recent study which found that the average Sunset Park resident pays more than 58 percent of their monthly income in rent. Photo courtesy of the borough president’s office

Keeping a roof over your head is costing a pretty penny, according to Borough President Eric Adams, who said residents of one neighborhood are having a particularly hard time.

“To rent a home in Sunset Park, the average household must spend nearly six of every 10 dollars earned on rent,” said Adams, who called it “an unsustainable burden that prevents families from saving and leaves them vulnerable to displacement from the neighborhood.”

To help tenants understand city housing regulations, Adams will hold a free workshop called “Tenants: Know Your Rights” on Tuesday, May 24, at Sunset Park High School, 153 35th St., from 6 to 8 p.m.

The workshop will take place in the school cafeteria.

Tenants will have an opportunity to speak in English or Spanish with advocates and lawyers from Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A (also known as Brooklyn A) about their rights under federal, state and local laws to protect themselves from unfair practices by landlords.

“As we work to create affordable housing, we must also provide the resources that allow longtime residents to remain in their homes and resist tenant harassment,” Adams said.

The borough president cited a report by the real estate website StreetEasy, which found that the median rent in Sunset Park comes to more than 58 percent of the average monthly income. A separate analysis showed that more than 100 buildings in the neighborhood lost at least half of their rent-stabilized units between 2007 and 2014.

 “Housing discrimination is part of an insidious strategy used by landlords and management companies to displace and disenfranchise minority residents in Brooklyn,” said Caroline Iosso, fair housing advocate at Brooklyn A. “We are pleased to once again collaborate with Borough President Adams in arming tenants with their fair housing rights and providing them with the tools to combat the unfair treatment they’re experiencing.”

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Adams is working with Sunset Park elected officials to organize the workshop, including U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez, state Sens. Jesse Hamilton and Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblymember Félix Ortiz and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca.

“Ensuring tenants are protected from landlord abuses starts with residents knowing their rights,” Velázquez said. “Forums like these provide important educational resources to renters on how to protect themselves and ensure their legal housing rights are respected and observed.”

Last year, Adams held a series of hearings in Downtown Brooklyn, East Flatbush and Williamsburg that identified scores of cases of potential abuse by landlords with the potential for civil or criminal liability. His office has been reviewing the cases with legal advocates.

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