New York, NY: Carmen

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There are three things from the Housing Justice for All platform that have directly impacted me. One is IAIs, which is individual apartment improvements. It didn’t happen in my particular apartment, but it happened in four other apartments in my building. My girls and I had to live through basically what is called “construction as harassment.”

There was so much dust, they just didn’t take proper precautions when they were doing the work, so you know, no plastic to protect the area, odd working hours, and so many other examples. The other two things they did were centered around the fact that I am separated from my husband and the management company was trying to convince me that I didn’t have the right to my lease renewal.

The reason they do that is because if they’re able to force a tenant out of their apartment, then they can use the vacancy bonus, which gives them the chance to increase a 20% over the previous rent price. If they do this often enough they can take it out of rent regulation. The other thing is vacancy decontrol. This is why I am fighting for Universal Rent Control, so no one goes through a situation like this. And if they are being tricked by their landlord, they have the right laws to back them up and protect them.