The garbage goes out on Wednesday nights at 9229 Shore Road in Bay Ridge. It is one of the nine buildings in Brooklyn owned by the Athineos family, which bought their first property in 1968.
"We needed a place to live. My parents bought a six-family building. We lived in one apartment and my grandma lived across the hall. My parents did a lot the work themselves," Landlord Christopher Athineos said.
Christopher Athineos oversees the family's real estate portfolio. His 76- year-old parents, Peter and Nicolina, live in one of their Shore Road apartments. But the family worries the sweeping new tenant protections being approved by Albany will devastate their business.
"Renovating an apartment can cost fifty to $60,000 when you have to gut an apartment. We insulate the walls, remove lead paint, create new kitchens and bathrooms. This is what tenants want. These are the conditions tenants want to live in,” Athineos said. “And now they're capping what we could spend up to $15,000. $15,000 doesn't cover anything. I mean, it barely covers a granite countertop in the kitchen."
Legislative leaders and Governor Cuomo have agreed on reforms that will affect almost a million rent regulated apartments. The reforms would end the deregulation of apartments that become vacant and limit how much landlords can raise rents to cover capital improvement costs.
Athineos said the overhaul reduces the incentive for building owners to upgrade apartments. But tenant advocates disagree.
"None of these bills will eat into landlord profits. What they'll do is eat into these exorbitant, insane sums that these landlords have been charging," said Charlie Dulik, a tenant organizer.
Athineos said not all landlords should be held accountable because of some bad actors. "I think this bill sends a message to anyone that's not in New York. Don't come here. It's not a friendly place for business, and it's going to be difficult to provide a good quality apartment if we're not able to do renovations in our apartments. I think the writing is on the wall. Eventually sell the buildings and move out of New York."
A New York where apartment regulations are about to dramatically change.