East Village residents rally against 'corporate takeover' of apartments

East Village residents rallied Sunday against what they call the corporate takeover of their apartment buildings. They say a private equity firm Meadow Partners bought the buildings on East 11th and 12th streets and is aggressively displacing long-term tenants and hiking up rents. 

Some residents have lived as long as 40 years inside their cozy apartments in 305 East 11th and 310 East 12th in East Village, paying stabilized rents as low at $2,000 a month. But after a corporation, Meadow Partners, came in and bought the place, everything is changing.  

"Everyone in this country deserves to have somewhere to live that they can know, and they will be able to stay there and be able to live there and be able to raise their kids there," said Maria Molloy, an East Village resident. "And that's not going to be ripped away from you the second someone wants to make some more money off of you. We're not investments we're people!" 

Residents rallied, claiming the rent of long-time tenants -- families and senior citizens -- is being hiked up by nearly 40-percent. Some are being forced out, their leases not renewed.  

"One of the plans, I believe, is there's a rent stabilized unit and a market rate unit. If they're next to each other, they break the wall down and combine the units together, thereby taking the rent stabilized unit out of rent stabilization, then it becomes a market-rate apartment," said Elise Hurley, an East Village resident.  

It's what's known as "Warehousing" and "Frankensteining," a corporate trend found throughout the city, but one that can be checked, according to these residents, if the Good Cause Eviction bill passes. The bill would stop landlords from kicking out tenants without proof that they actually violated the lease. It would also stop them from raising the rent more than 3 percent. 

Supporters say the 2019 bill actually has a chance of finally passing this year, but opponents argue it's just universal rent control, and it destroys property owners' rights.  

FOX 5 reached out to Meadow Partners for a response but did not hear back.  

"You shouldn't have to work in finance to live in the east village," said Molloy. "This is ridiculous."