Brooklyn lawmakers push to criminalize ‘rent sabotage’

Martin Malavé Dilan

April 14, 2014

By Ryan Hutchins

Capital New York

A bill in the state legislature would criminalize the act of “rent sabotage,” making it a felony for landlords to destroy their own buildings in the hopes of forcing out tenants living in rent-controlled units.

The measure was introduced this month following continued reports of hostilities between renters and property owners in increasingly gentrified Brooklyn neighborhoods. Tenants who've spent many years in the same apartments without problems have accused landlords of sending in men with sledgehammers and power saws to make the properties unliveable.

“It's a situation that's ongoing within my district, where we have landlords that are basically destroying their properties so they can get rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments so they can get increased rents,” state Senator Martin Dilan, a Democrat, said of the practice.

The legislation is also sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, another Brooklyn Democrat. More at Capital New York.