Thursday: Find out if you’re being gouged on rent, and how to fight back

You might be paying way more than you should be. via flickr user {jeannine}
You might be paying way more than you should be. via flickr user {jeannine}

Brooklyn may already be the most unaffordable place to own, but many renters are still holding out for a better future. They’re not wrong to do so— there is certainly a possibility that the rental boom in Brooklyn reaches its glut in the coming years, and simmers down to provide more affordable housing options.

But what if, unbeknownst to you, you’re not subject to market fluctuation? What if you’re just being flat-out gouged on rent?

Here’s the deal: Market value has little to no bearing on what you should be charged if your apartment is rent-stabilized. But it’s easy for landlords and management companies take full advantage of how little research you’ve done on their property’s history. They might be overcharging you on rent by the hundreds, or even thousands.

But this time next week, you can start fighting back. On Oct. 20 at 7:30pm at the Central Library (10 Grand Army Plz.), the Brooklyn Public Library and ProPublica are co-hosting a forum called “How to Fight Back if Your Rent is Illegally High.” Oh, it’s exactly what it sounds like. 

From the event’s page:

While many New Yorkers chalk up high rent and steep rent hikes as unavoidable facts of living in the city, a recent ProPublica investigation found that tens of thousands of New Yorkers are unknowingly living in rent-stabilized apartments. These tenants are entitled to legal limits on their annual rent increases. If their rent has been raised past the legal limit, they can potentially get big refunds. But some landlords are betting that tenants lack the knowledge and resources to file a complaint or a lawsuit  and so they flagrantly break the rules on rent-stabilization.

Moderated by ProPublica reporter Cezary Podkul, the forum will feature a number of tenants from Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as the community advocates who represent them. Each tenant will share a success story of fighting back against an unlawful landlord or housing situation. You’ll also learn how to look up your apartment’s rent history, when to file a complaint, pro bono legal resources you can tap to help you in the fight, and tips on organizing tenants in your building.

The event is free, but make sure to register if you’re planning to attend! Refreshments will be served, and nothing says “Keep hope alive” like a free drink in your hand.


  1. Even when its “legal,” preferential rents vs real rents means a landlord can effectively raise your rent beyond the established percentage. Too few people understand this about rent stabilization, and then face rent hikes they did not expect. I wish there was more info about this!

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