That’s when Rachel Nager, a staff attorney with Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, steps in. As a nonprofit providing free legal services for low-income communities, the organization often works with community groups to keep rent-stabilized tenants in their homes and hold landlords accountable for their actions.
“Rent-stabilized housing in Brooklyn is disappearing. The city under this administration provides funding for attorneys like me to help tenants in need,” Nager said. “It’s still incumbent upon this government, especially with the new rezonings in East New York and east Brooklyn, where the harassment is some of the worse harassment by landlords, to protect the tenants and not let them be left behind.”
She was among the many lawyers and advocates who were calling for the court to appoint a 7-A administrator for the tenants of 314 MacDougal Street, who were rallying against the conditions in their building.
“They’re requesting that their landlord be banned from the building and that an administrator be appointed to make these necessary repairs,” she said, “to be free from the chronic fear and the chronic anxiety placed upon them every single day by the one person who’s obligated to provide their safe housing.”
Nager said these types of cases are happening most in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. Now with the rezoning in East New York, she said, they’re seeing a lot of harassment in eastern and central Brooklyn too.
“Especially with rent-stabilized buildings where you have long-term residents who have been in these communities for years, decades, and have raised their families there, a lot of landlords now are doing construction as harassment,” Nager said. “All of a sudden, people are watching the real estate market and speculation really around those areas.”