STRATEGY

How we plan to fight back collectively.

If you are experiencing harassment, intimidation or threat of eviction from your landlord, we can help!

We can offer solidarity and support in many capacities to fight back against these forms of landlord violence. Call Brooklyn Eviction Defense (917-982-2265). We have done stoop-watches where neighbors take shifts protecting tenants from further harassment, we’ve re-entered homes for tenants after landlords had illegally changed the locks, and we have done physical eviction blockades by standing between the landlord and tenants so they could not be evicted. These are all ways to let the landlord know you are not alone and to keep you housed!

Do not self-evict!

You can only be legally evicted after a judge hears your case in housing court and orders an eviction, and then only a city marshal can actually evict you – this all takes a long time, especially with the moratorium and backlog in the courts. If you receive a notice from your landlord you can call Brooklyn Eviction Defense at (917) 982-2265 and we’ll be there to talk through what it means, how you can protect yourself, and how your neighbors can support you to fight back.

What if my apartment needs repairs?

If your landlord isn’t responding to requests for repair or if they’re not keeping the heat on this

winter, you should document the problems and any correspondence with your landlord. Written correspondence is good – emails, text messages, etc. that show that you let them know about the problem and they have done nothing to resolve it. You can call 311 to file a complaint up to twice a day, and you can also send a formal letter of complaint using this online tool at app.justfix.nyc/en/loc.

 

You can withhold rent!

You’re sending your landlord a large chunk of your income every month, it’s their responsibility to make sure your home is safe and warm at the very minimum. The law on the books that gives you a right to a safe and habitable apartment in New York State is called the Warrant of Habitability.

Have you given your landlord a notice in writing of a serious hazard in the apartment, and allowed reasonable time for them to resolve the issue? If you are still dealing with pests, safety hazards (doors that do not work, windows that won’t close), inadequate heating, harassment, or other serious issues, it’s time to let them know you won’t pay rent until the problem is resolved. Withholding rent is a negotiation tactic intended to prompt immediate action. You will still be responsible for paying rent after the problem is resolved, and your landlord could technically sue you for nonpayment. However, if that happens you can file a countersuit because your landlord broke the law by breaching the warrant of habitability. Many times, landlords will make repairs WAY BEFORE they will sue for nonpayment. Suing is costly and tedious, and the landlord knows that you will likely pay the rent as soon as conditions are improved. 

Talk to a lawyer about going to court, talk to BED about dealing with your landlord before a court case ever happens. Some of us know how to make the necessary repairs your landlord is refusing to make.

Join the fight!

Go talk to your neighbors — if your landlord is making your life miserable, chances are they’re doing the same to other folks in your building. Build a tenant association, connect with your local housing justice organization, and get involved with BED. There are over five million renters in New York City, and if we are sufficiently coordinated, we could shut the whole City down.

POST EVICTION MORATORIUM FAQ

Don’t Move Out!

Just because you owe rent or have gotten notices from our landlord, does not mean you are evicted. Only a court and marshals can evict you!

Do not ignore any notices! Reach out for help!

You can get free legal help from a Right To Counsel lawyer. Call 311 and ask for the “Tenant Helpline” to be connected. BED also can help walk you through the legal process if you feel more comfortable talking to another tenant.

You have rights!

Even if you owe rent, you might have defense in housing court. These might include: Tenant Safe Harbor Act, ERAP, withholding rent because of lack of repairs and bad living conditions, and Rent Regulation Laws.

Apply for ERAP

ERAP will provide you temporary eviction protection. Once your application is accepted, you get a year’s eviction protection. Even if your landlord doesn’t do their side.

What was the eviction moratorium, why did it end when there’s still a pandemic, why aren’t elected officials doing anything?

In 2020, the CDC issued the first COVID-19 eviction moratorium, preventing legal evictions from taking place during the first deadly spike in COVID-19 cases. When the CDC moratorium ended, NY State issued a local moratorium to take its place until January 15, 2022. The moratorium and its arbitrary end date prove that evictions are created by a capitalist system that produces for-profit housing and requires profits to continue to grow at any cost. The fight over housing has been driven for too long by two forces: developers and non-profits. Both of these groups have immense lobbying power and influence over government officials. We know that the solution to the housing crisis will not come from elected officials, but from organized tenants exercising their power. We do not need to beg politicians and the state to treat us with dignity. By organizing in our workplaces, in our buildings, and in our neighborhoods, we can build collective power, wield strength in numbers, and sharpen our determination. Go here to read more about this and BED’s vision for the future without for-profit housing and without eviction. Solidarity!

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