As I left my apartment today to come to my coffee shop where I do much of my writing, there were two workmen dangling in the doorway, making improvements to the entryway. Since the landlord has already increased my rent (illegally, might I add) for reasons that have never been explained (he refuses to acknowledge my written letters to him, and he also refuses to speak to me on the phone or to answer my voicemails), this development sent a wave of terror over me — I mean, I nearly barfed because I was so afraid. Why?
I am afraid because landlords in NYC who are seeking to turn their rent-stabilized apartments into expensive market-rate apartments or into even more expensive condos will incrementally “improve” their property at the current residents’ expense. The landlords charge their current residents rapidly increasing rents based on the expense of the improvements made to the property and then, as soon as the apartment rent reaches $2,000 per month, that apartment is no longer “rent stabilized” — it becomes available at market rates. I am sure you already see where this is going. Market rate rents in NYC are astonishingly high. This prices the current resident (me, in this case) out of her apartment.
The now-available market-priced apartment becomes available to real people with real jobs or it is refurbished and then can be sold as an even higher-priced condo, which nets the greedy landlord even more money, while all of the scum, like me, are forever banished from our own neighborhood .. to where?
I think this is what my landlord is doing.
Anyway, since people like me have to pass a credit check just to get into another apartment, and since I have lots of debt due to unpaid medical bills, it appears that I will end up homeless. This is the stuff of nightmares, I tell you!