Brooklyn, The Borough: Landlord As a Second Language

A week ago, I received an email about a vacant industrial warehouse on 46th Street in Sunset Park that recently sold for $1,100,000. Each of the 4,900 square feet came to $225. I wondered why a bare bones property like this would cost so much, but somewhere out there a landlord was probably excited that it cost so little.

This is the landlord-tenant language divide. Tenants often complain their landlord hikes up rent, adds fees or takes their time to do necessary repairs. Landlords complain of their high property taxes, late rent checks and the cost of maintaining properties. On each side is a gut reaction to what a space should lease for, and often, neither is interested in the other's cost-related woes.

My roommate Will recently got a call from Eugene, the owner of our two-bedroom apartment in Prospect Heights, about our upcoming lease renewal. A few of his initial suggestions sounded a bit shady. Looking to increase his revenue, Eugene suggested we pay our own heating costs on top of a $200 rent increase. Other suggestions, like charging extra for our outdoor space, which was previously free, were also thrown out there.  read more »

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