Together with other Brooklyn tenant advocacy groups, our Coalition leaders finally forced the city to move Brooklyn Housing Court to an accessible, decent location. The city is allocating $100M to make it happen!! And believe us, we’re going to fight to make it happen far sooner than the administration thinks. And we’re going to win on that too!
The current court building at 141 Livingston is a private office building owned by a landlord who was on then-Public Advocate’s Bill de Blasio’s Worst Landlord List for several years. The elevators don’t work properly, forcing elderly and disabled tenants to wait in line for far too long, climb multiple stories to get to their cases, or default because they can’t get to the courtroom on time. The heating and cooling systems don’t work, and the city is forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars on top of the rent to make sure staff & tenants don’t freeze in the winter, or pass out from the summer heat (which happens more often than you want to think.) The open bathrooms are not accessible, and the nonaccessible ones are frequently out of order or unsanitary. The courtrooms are too small and tenants are forced to wait out in hallways, where they are badgered by the landlords’ lawyers into signing unfair and unjust agreements that result in many, many unnecessary evictions. And that’s just the beginning of what’s wrong with the current court building.
The city will be able to build out the new location at 210 Joralemon to suit the needs of the court, tenants, and all other users of the space. We’re going to be right there with them to make sure they take tenant needs into account – and they need to hear from actual tenants to understand what those needs are!
The city wants to take five years to make the move. That is far too long for the city to be paying a “Worst Landlord” $8.2M a year for a space that is inadequate at best, and outright dangerous at most realistic. We will fight tooth & nail to make sure the move happens within the next couple of years — if developers can build out the Barclay Center in under two years, the city can renovate an existing building in even less time, we’re sure.
Here’s a New York Times story about the move.