Crown Heights Tenant Union

for #TenantEmpowerment

Our Demands

Want to know what we’re fighting for? Here’s where you can learn more.

Here is what CHTU


We demand an end to the cycle of displacement from our homes and systematic overcharge of new tenants. We demand an end to the harassment that we have experienced. We demand the following be enshrined in a legally-binding collective bargaining agreement between the Crown Heights Tenant Union and our landlords—an agreement guaranteeing these rights for all tenants in CHTU-member buildings:


Five-Year Rent Freeze

a. Landlords must not raise the rent in any apartment—including both rent stabilized and non-stabilized apartments—for five years; the current rent in all apartments shall be the ceiling rent for five years. After the expiration of the five-year rent freeze, rents in all apartments—rent stabilized and non-stabilized alike—shall rise only at the proportion set by the Rent Guidelines Board for rent-stabilized apartments.


Right to Repairs

a. Repairs must be done promptly, with a 48 hour response time maximum to begin work on any repair requests.

b. Landlords cannot force tenants to move out during repairs.

c. All repairs will be done by licensed and union contractors.


Rights of Current Residents

a. Tenants will be granted preference for within-building transfer before landlord can rent them to others.

        i. Transfers must be at same rent for same-size apartment and with equality for renovated apartments.

b. Repairs must not be a hardship that affects tenants’ quality of life (i.e. no unusable bathrooms, no broken refrigerators, etc.)

c. Repairs and renovations must be made equally across apartments, for old and new tenants. Tenants may opt out of renovations if they so desire. The same high- quality materials must be used in all repairs and renovations, equally across apartments, for old and new tenants.

d. Landlords must give an automatic lease transfer to any to any named successor, even if they’re not on the lease, at the same rent. There will be no vacancy and no vacancy increase.

e. Landlords cannot interfere with HPD and DHCR or any agency that does inspections.

f. Landlords have 48 hours to respond to any inquiry.


Right to Fair Renovations & Building Conditions

a. Landlords cannot cut up apartments to add more bedrooms.

b. Landlords need prior tenants’ association approval of all vacant apartment and building-wide renovations.

         i. Approval must be granted by tenants associations in a formal vote.

c. Landlords cannot pass on the cost of major capital improvements (MCI) to current or future tenants.

d. Tenants must be reimbursed for any damage or lost property, including but not limited to furniture and clothing, in the event of a bedbug infestation, a leak, or any other building-wide or apartment-level condition causing damage to a tenant’s property.

f. In the event of an infestation of bedbugs or any other infestation, the landlord must notify all building tenants of an infestation (without revealing the apartment number or the tenant’s identity), pay all costs of immediate extermination of the infestation, and take preventative building-wide action to prevent the infestation from spreading. The specific steps to prevent the infestation from spreading or to prevent future infestations, and a timeline for implementing those steps, must be outlined in the landlord’s notification to all tenants.


Right to Rent History

a. If rent history reveals past abuse, landlords must make the change to the current rent (no matter how far back).

b. Landlords must show prospective tenants their legal DHCR rent history when they show an apartment.

c. Landlords must put rent histories of all buildings they manage online.


Regarding Buy Outs

a. Landlords can only ask tenants if they would like to accept money to move out once.

b. Any landlord offer to buyout a tenant must be at least five years’ rent after renovations for tenant’s apartment at current market rate.


Right to Organize

a. Tenants have right to have tenant meetings in lobby.

b. Landlords must post tenant rights & this contract in the building.


Right to Fair Late Penalty Policies

a. Landlords cannot issue any late rent penalties.

b. Tenants can only be brought to court after they fail to pay rent for 6 months.

         i. After 3 months, tenants get an official warning from the landlord.


Right to Fair Leases

a. Landlords must automatically renew the leases of all tenants, unless otherwise notified.

b. In the event the landlord fails to send a lease-renewal form at least 90 days before the expiration of a lease, that lease must be automatically renewed if the tenant has not given written authorization instructing the landlord not to renew the lease. In the event the landlord fails to send a lease renewal-form at least 90 days before the expiration of the lease to a tenant in a non-rent stabilized apartment or to any tenant who consequently experienced a delayed rent subsidy or any other monetary damage, the landlord must pay the tenant a penalty of 10% of the annual rent, either in a check or in rent reduction, depending on the tenant’s preference.

c. Landlords must create a real lease which is broken down in clear language separate from lease legalese.

d. Landlords must have consistent leases with the same provisions throughout building.

e. Landlords must offer tenants the option for a five-year lease.

f. Regarding Preferential Rent

        i. Preferential rents must last for the duration of tenancy.

        ii. Preferential rent must be explicit in the “real” lease detailed above.

        iii. If preferential rent is offered to new tenants, the same proportion must be taken off of all current tenants’ rent.

g. Landlords must provide all tenants with a receipt confirming they’ve received a rent payment within one week of receiving that payment. Landlords must cash all rent checks within 10 days of receiving payment. If the landlord fails to provide a receipt or cash rent checks as outlined above, the landlord must pay the tenant a penalty of 10% of the annual rent, either in a check or in rent reduction, depending on the tenant’s preference.


Rights of Senior-Citizen Tenants and Disabled Tenants

a. Landlords must inform the New York City Department for the Aging and / or the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities before initiating any plan to evict or buyout senior-citizen tenants or disabled tenants.


CHTU Meetings


Collective Advice
Thursday, January 20th
6 PM – 6:45 PM

General Membership Meeting
Thursday, March 17th
@ 7 PM

Crown heights tenant union

DISCLAIMER: The Crown Heights Tenant Union will not provide legal advice over the internet, over the phone, or in person. The information on this website is not legal advice but curated information from various New York government agencies and organizations. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, please seek the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in New York.

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