Brooklyn Tenants File Housing Discrimination Lawsuit

A group of Brooklyn tenants has filed a federal lawsuit against two landlords, accusing them of illegally trying to force black residents out of their rent-stabilized apartments to make room for new renters who pay market rates. According to court documents, most of the tenants have resided in the complex for decades. The suit alleges that the owners have violated the federal Fair Housing Act as well as city and state human rights laws.

The tenants, who pay between $600 and $1,400 a month for 52 three-bedroom units in the three buildings, say they were the victims of a systematic pattern of harassment, neglect, and frivolous housing lawsuits designed to force them out to make room for new tenants paying double the rent. The group claims the landlords, who bought the buildings in 2009, have neglected to do repairs in black-occupied units. The landlords have also taken tenants to housing court with falsified claims and left rent checks uncashed in an attempt to evict rent-stabilized residents, the lawsuit asserts. Black tenants were also forced to get rid of pets and washing machines, the suit says.