Gentrification Sparks Surge In Landlord Sabotage

On the surface, there are few positions more fortuitous than living in a rent-stabilized apartment in one of the city's newly hip enclaves—renters can partake of the trendy cafés and lower crime rates without the accompanying bloated cost of living. But what if your landlord is willing to take an axe to your boiler to force you to leave? What if they’re eager to destroy their own property for market-rate rent? Apartment sabotage is real, and gentrification has made it more common than you might think.

"We see this type of stuff in north Brooklyn a lot," said Greg Hanlon, a spokesperson for the non-profit St. Nick's Alliance. "The incentive for these landlords to kick out their long-term rent stabilized tenants is high, because obviously market rate rents are completely through the roof. It seems far-fetched to picture these landlords messing up their own buildings, but they obviously made the calculation."

Catalina Hidalgo, a life-long Greenpoint resident, has lived in her current apartment at 300 Nassau since 2004. When she first moved in, her rent was around $500 a month; it's since increased to $754—a bargain in a neighborhood where a two-bedroom like Hidalgo's typically runs around $2,500 a month. - 24 February 2014

Full article