Greenpoint Gazette

Greenpoint Tenants’ Forum: A Workshop for Residents

BY Christopher Gongolski

The major boom in housing costs in North Brooklyn, and the rest of the City, over the past decade, has left many residents with questions and concerns.

Hoping to provide some answers, the City’s Department of Housing, Preservation and Development (HPD), in partnership with Councilmember Steve Levin, North Brooklyn Development Corporation and St. Nicks Alliance, brought an open discussion to the Warsaw, on Driggs Avenue, Tuesday.

Much of the conversation covered tenant’s rights, starting with how to recognize whether your apartment is actually rent stabilized.

“If you live in an apartment complex with six or more units, you may be living in a rent stabilized building and not even know,” explained Deborah Diamond, an attorney from the Legal Aid Society in Downtown Brooklyn. “The Department of Housing and Community Renewal can check if you are being overcharged or are living in a rent stabilized building.”

Diamond also informed the audience that Human Resources Association (HRA) has resources for tenants who are unable to pay rent due to illness.

“They will check that you have a lease, are capable of paying future rent and why you missed your rent payments,” she said. “Under many different circumstances, they may help pay for rent that has been missed.”

She also walked the audience through the eviction process, noting that landlords must provide a 30 day termination of lease notice before they can even begin an eviction and that evictions are carried out in Housing Court, not by the landlord himself.

Following several additional presentations by attorneys, the hosts invited participants to an interactive housing fair. Booths were set up around the room for, among others, the City’s Department of Housing and Community Renewal, Department of Finance, Commission of Human Rights and the St. Nick’s Alliance, a North Brooklyn-based tenant advocacy organization.

The HPD Marketing booth offered information about finding the location of affordable apartments, and the affordable housing application process. Levin also manned a booth answering questions for attendees at the Tenant Fair.

If you missed the forum, HPD offers free podcasts as well as online and in-person classes on subjects such as the HPD/ HDC housing lotteries, identifying and managing a bed bug infestation, reducing mold, reducing your electric bill, and more. A complete list of offerings can be found online at www.nyc.gov/hpd, facebook.com/NYCHPD or twitter.com/nychousing.

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