Private Eyes Are Watching You

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As predicted, the new owners of some of the city’s most prominent affordable housing units are taking steps to make back some of the money they dished out. Tishman Speyer, who recently bought Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village for the groundbreaking sum of $5.4 billion, has now hired a private detective to investigate tenants who may be violating rent stabilization rules, according to The New York Sun. Fred Knapp has the wrath-incurring job of seeking out leaseholders who either use their home as second residences or sublet them to other tenants. The tenants confirmed of committing such illegalities (or those who can’t afford to fight such accusations in court) will be evicted, allowing the landlord to make improvements to the units in an attempt to depose them from their regulated status. Last week’s sale of Brooklyn’s Starrett City for $1.3 billion is also raising concerns over the loss of affordable housing. Yesterday, Brooklyn congressmen Reps. Edolphus Towns and Anthony Weiner requested congressional hearings on this and other recent real-estate deals like it throughout the country. Towns, whose district includes Starrett City, has accused new owner Clipper Equity of planning to raise rents and build market-rate housing. The New York Times reports that David Bistricer of Clipper Equity said that the company will likely buy out of the state’s Mitchell Lama program, while insisting that the existing buildings would remain affordable.

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