WRECKING WITHOUT THE BALL: AN EVICTION LOOPHOLE
State says law's vague definition of 'demolition' gives owners wide grounds for evictions.
By Rachel Nielsen
A state regulation has been allowing private building owners to evict rent-stabilized tenants by demolishing apartment buildings – but the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)says that no matter how it words the regulation, it doesn’t have the power to prevent owners from using the law to replace stabilized apartments with market-rate units.
In an interview, the director of DHCR’s policy unit said that some suggestions on DHCR’s proposed demolition regulation – voiced by elected officials and housing advocates at an impassioned hearing last week – do have merit. But he said a building can be demolished, or even just gut-renovated, for the purpose of removing tenants, and DHCR can’t stop it.
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