NY landlords fight tenants in buyout battle

But tenants stand their ground, demanding suitable alternative accommodation

Published Thu, Jul 10, 2014 · 10:00 PM
Share this article.

[NEW YORK] The first offer from the landlord's representative came in April: take US$90,000 to move out, the tenants said they were told, or the landlord would sue and they would lose their apartment anyway.

Lin Thai Ng, who lives in a cramped US$500-a-month studio in NoLIta with her husband, said no. The landlord persisted and offered US$100,000. After they refused again, the couple received a notice saying they were not the lawful tenants and declaring them squatters. They were told they had 18 days to get out or they would be evicted.

"He wants us to move," Ms Ng, 57, an immigrant from Malaysia, said in Cantonese through an interpreter, "but where are we going to move?"

Buyouts have long been part of the city's real estate lore, complete with only-in-New York stories of tenants who made millions relinquishing apartments they did not own. But as offers have become more common at the lower end of the ravenous housing market, buyouts have become instruments of illegal harassment and a growing threat to the stock of affordable housing, tenant groups and ho…

BT is now on Telegram!

For daily updates on weekdays and specially selected content for the weekend. Subscribe to



Get the latest coverage and full access to all BT premium content.


Browse corporate subscription here