Behind New York’s Housing Crisis: Weakened Laws and Fragmented Regulation

May 20, 2018

New York Times

Kim Barker

The assault began shortly after a new owner bought the building at 25 Grove Street in June 2015. Surveillance cameras arrived first, pointed at the doors to rent-regulated apartments. Then came the construction workers, who gutted empty units and sent a dust cocktail of lead-based paint, brick and who knows what else throughout the building.

Worried, a pregnant woman and her husband left, dooming their apartment to the demolition derby. Violations were issued; violations were dismissed. And on a Friday morning in early August 2016, Temma Tainow, who had lived in the West Village building for 34 years, was jarred awake by what sounded like an explosion. She stumbled into her kitchen and screamed. A leg dangled from a hole punched through her ceiling.

“I think it is imprinted on my brain forever: looking up and seeing five men staring down through the hole,” recalled Ms. Tainow, 70, a tiny therapist with a halo of reddish-brown hair who speaks deliberately and walks with a slow limp. “It’s been awful. It’s been a nightmare. It’s exactly what the owner wants.”

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