affordable housing

The Eco-Yogi Slumlord House Is For Sale

Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

The house at 1214 Dean Street in Crown Heights is about to get a second life, the City reports. The home, once the site of a notorious public eviction in the early months of the pandemic, is back on the market for $678,000 as part of the city’s housing lottery.

Landlords Gennaro Brooks-Church and Loretta Gendville were sued twice in 2020 after forcing their tenants to leave their apartments that July, as COVID-19 raged. The first suit was filed by the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants for violating eviction law and for tenant harassment, the second, by the Office of Special Enforcement for running a string of illegal short-term rentals. (The OSE’s civil complaint quoted from New York’s investigation into the couple.) In 2022, New York State attorney general Letitia James announced a settlement with Brooks-Church and Gendville, forcing them to pay restitution and to give up the property to the city, which would turn 1214 into affordable housing.

Now, the house is finally ready to be occupied again. After seizing 1214, New York’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development sold the home to a nonprofit called Neighborhood Restore for the price of $1, which, after renovating the property, is about to sell it to a first-time homebuyer for $678,000. The person chosen will be subject to income restrictions (they must have a minimum of four people in their household, have a total asset limit of $281,000, and use the house has a primary residence). There is a stabilized one-bedroom in the basement; the tenant will also be chosen by the city’s housing lottery system.

It’s an interesting coda to the 1214 Dean Street saga. The median home sale in Crown Heights was almost a million dollars last month according to Redfin, so the restricted price by the city’s unique arrangement will bring at least one new owner some relief — though Neighborhood Restore told The City it had 465 applications for every home in its last available batch. But new tenant will also have to navigate a broken, nearly unwinnable housing lottery. Thousands of people will likely apply to this single listing, making the odds of getting in are a fraction of a percent. Applications are due March 20.

The Eco-Yogi Slumlord House Is For Sale