Dozens of Ridgewood renters marched through their neighborhood Saturday to denounce a property owner routinely featured on the New York City public advocate’s annual Worst Landlord List. Their chants of “Fight Fight Fight, Housing is Right” prompted nods from passersby, supportive honks from an FDNY fire truck driving along Myrtle Avenue and words of encouragement from local elected officials.
The Ridgewood Tenants Union’s demonstration against Silvershore Properties attracted renters from Ridgewood and neighboring Bushwick who said they have been harassed by landlords who go to extreme measures to evict or wear down their tenants in order to jack up rents, especially in rent-stabilized apartments.
Silvershore’s former owner, Jonathan Cohen, was named the city’s worst landlord in 2017 by former Public Advocate Letita James. The company owns nearly 100 buildings and continues the conduct that Cohen instituted, tenants say.
As part of the legislative package, State Sen. Julia Salazar of Brooklyn has sponsored the “Good Cause Eviction” bill, which would prevent landlords from instituting “unconscionable” rent increases of more than 1 1/2 times the annual percentage change in the consumer price index. The measure would effectively cap increases at most buildings. Queens State Sens. Toby Ann Stavisky, John Liu, James Sanders Jr., Jessica Ramos and Gianaris are cosponsors.
“The days of tenants being abused due to our weak rent laws are coming to an end,” Gianaris said. “Our new progressive Senate majority finally gives tenants another strong advocate in the fight to preserve affordable housing in New York.”