Bushwick landlords fined for “buying out” tenants
by Benjamin Fang
Nov 08, 2017 | 322 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The landlords of three Bushwick buildings were fined $132,000 for engaging in the illegal practice of “buying out” rent-stabilized tenants, according to a legal advocacy group.

Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A said on Sunday that the office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has penalized landlords Graham and Gregory Jones of GRJ LLC for their tactics on the tenants of 920 Bushwick Avenue, 946 Bushwick Avenue and 1075 Greene Avenue.

The landlords purchased the three buildings in June 2016, and according to advocates, tried to displace tenants through buyouts. They offered tenants a sum of money in exchange for vacating their apartments and giving up their tenancy rights.

According to the attorney general’s settlement agreement, 33 tenants were among those who were approached for a buyout. The landlords agreed to pay out $132,000 to the city Department of Finance, which will use the money to finance housing projects for low-income New Yorkers.

The landlords also agreed not to engage in other forms of tenant harassment.

“Landlord-tenant harassment should never take place anywhere in Bushwick or in our city,” Councilman Antonio Reynoso said in a statement. “I stand firmly with the Attorney General’s office, Brooklyn A and other organizations who fought to shed light on the actions of these landlords and continue to fight against landlords citywide who continue to violate our much-needed anti-harassment housing laws.”

Brooklyn A also represented the Bushwick tenants when the landlord shut down the elevator at 946 Bushwick for six months. In March 2017, they won the case after the court ordered the elevator to be repaired in two months, and for the landlord to provide accommodations for disabled tenants.

“Tenant harassment by unscrupulous landlords is unacceptable,” said Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks, “and New Yorkers should know that they can fight back with the help of city-funded legal assistance.
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