Tenant Rights Group Alleges New York Low-Income Renters Being Pushed Out of Homes

New York–Private investment firms have been buying up hundreds of apartment buildings with rent-regulated units that offer small returns, hoping they can make the units more profitable with rent increases after the existing tenants leave.However, the plan’s success is contingent on vacancy rates that are much higher than the typical rent-controlled New York apartment rates; as a result, some tenant advocates feel low-income renters are being urged to leave, the New York Times reports.Tenants have been sued for rent that landlords received; been given false notices involving rent bills, nonrenewals and lease terminations and have even been accused of subletting their apartments illegally, the Times said.The tenants must appear in court, even if the charges are incorrect. But many instead have moved out, according to court documents–allowing the owners to raise the rent.“Predatory equity is undermining the best efforts of New York City and state elected officials to slow the loss of affordable housing,” Benjamin Dulchin, deputy director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, told the Times. “Both the private equity funders and the lending institutions are aware, or should be aware, that harassment of tenants is taking place as a result of their financial models.”The investment companies deny the harassment claims.