Built in 1938, 101 Lincoln Road is an 84-unit building in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood of Prospect Lefferts Garden, Brooklyn. The building has long faced neglect by its owner, who is on the list of the 20 Worst Landlords in NYC. Alongside the physical decay of the building, the owner had not made reasonable accommodations for elderly and disabled tenants, and the long-term, rent-stabilized tenants faced harassment by the owner.
William, a community activist at heart, holds strong values and believes every individual should know their rights, be given the full extension of those rights, and advocate for themselves (and others) when those rights are being hindered. This commitment to social justice propelled William, and his neighbors to build collective power and form a tenant association (TA). With William as TA president, the group of 22 households pushed back against the owner, and made some progress but more was needed to truly protect themselves. When they realized the TA would benefit from legal advice and representation, they sought the help of Brooklyn A.
After meeting with William and the TA, it was clear to Brooklyn A’s team of attorneys their fair housing rights were being violated. Together, Brooklyn A and the tenants of 101 Lincoln Road fought to have over $35,000 in overcharged rent returned, secured an entrance ramp for the building and reasonable disability accommodations, and secured a full rent reduction order for all tenants.
Had the tenants not organized, had strong leadership or legal representation, or received fair housing education they would have continued to live without adequate accommodations. Many may have been displaced to make way for tenants who could afford market-rate rent. COVID-19 makes the need for housing justice even more urgent.
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