Testimony delivered by Flatbush Coalition Leader, Thomas Williams, at Rent Guidelines Board Brooklyn Hearing on Monday June 13, 2015:
Good evening. My name is Thomas Williams and I am a tenant leader and a member of the Flatbush Tenant Coalition. I live 538 E. 21st Street owned by Shamco – SHAMECO – a predatory equity landlord.
I am proud to be a member of the Coalition because it helps tenants who are being displaced by landlords that don’t have a conscience when it comes to their tenants
Landlords flood tenants with every loophole in the books and they add their own:
- Late fees, lawers fees, cleaning fees
- That’s just to name a few
We are asking this board to bring some God given common sense to this board. For tenants who are less fortunate than their landlords, who are making a lot of money off our backs with vacancy bonus of 20%, MCIs, IAIs that never come off your rent as long as you live in the apartment and longer.
These are just three of the many loopholes that landlords use, with tenants who often make less than $18,000 a year for a whole family.
We are being pushed out physically and otherwise by landlords and their staff, like supers. Most time, we don’t get our apt fixed. They try everything to force us out. Landlords go so far as to do damage to their own buildings by not fixing our apartments just to get more money in the end.
We ask that you the board – give tenants the chance to stay in their apartment with their families by rolling the rent back, or we will be homeless with our families in the streets. Families will become homeless with any rent increases, and a rent freeze is not enough.
How will you live with this on your conscience if you don’t roll back the rent? You’ve heard the many true SAD SAD stories of how tenants can’t eat or buy clothes for their children. Landlords are making a fortune every year, for years. But they keep saying year after year they are not – but just check their records and you will be blown away with the millions in their bank accounts.
It is now time the tenants get a break. I’ve Never known a landlords to be homeless or sleep in the streets. Not the landlords that millions of tenants in NYC are dealing with.
So we ask that you roll back the rent with your God given conscience. With your decision you could make families homeless with a rent hike or even a freeze. You need to roll back the rent.
CHANT: What do we want? Roll back the rent!!