Three landlords in Brooklyn have been accused of mistreating Black tenants in an attempt to force them to move so white tenants can take their spots.
Now the landlords are facing a federal lawsuit.
The tenants at the two complexes on Brooklyn Avenue and Hawthorne Street in East Flatbush claim that the poor treatment of Black tenants started in 2009 when the landlords first purchased the building.
The lawsuit claims that Black tenants were offered cash buyouts and events took a turn for the worse when they refused the offer.
The landlords have allegedly stopped fulfilling repair requests, implemented sudden price spikes in rent, and even refused to cash checks for African-American tenants.
“In contrast, white tenants move into renovated apartments, their rent checks are cashed, they receive monthly rent statements and they are not subject to harassment,” the lawsuit states.
They also have not been hit with the same double-digit rent increases that African-American tenants have faced.
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The lawsuit states that there has not been any justification for the poor conduct on the landlords’ behalf and they are simply trying to force out Black tenants.
“Entirely lacking a rational business justification, this course of conduct is blatantly designed to ambush Black tenants who have lived in the apartments for years, paying affordable rents and force them out, thus enabling defendants to re-rent the apartment to white tenants,” the suit states.
One tenant has been forced to go without hot water since last Friday.
Several complaints about the lack of hot water were made to the landlords, but no one has made repairs.
The landlords have yet to publicly address the lawsuit or the accusations brought against them.