Real Estate

When Your Boss Is Your Landlord

A five-minute walk to work and around $600 a month in rent was hard to pass up in 1990.

Rodolfo Calica worked as a parking attendant at Maimonides Medical Center in Borough Park, Brooklyn. His wife, Queenie Calica, also began working there in the 2000s as a housekeeper.

It made sense to them to move into one of the nearby buildings that Maimonides bought in the 1980s to serve as housing for its employees. They both continued to live there after they retired in 2021, and over the years they made the two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment their own, filling it with family photos, Lunar New Year decorations and a flag of the Philippines, where they’re from.

Now, after spending more than 30 years in the home, the Calicas are facing eviction. “We worked through the pandemic. And now they want us out,” said Mr. Calica, 66. “There are so many nurses here, too. They are heroes, but they’re going to be homeless now.”

“We worked through the pandemic. And now they want us out,” said Mr. Calica.Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

Maimonides sold the property six years ago, along with seven other buildings it owned in the area, for over $65 million to Iris Holdings. Following the sale, many tenants left, but some longtime tenants who are hospital employees or retirees continued to pay rent to the hospital, which paid that money forward to the new owner, essentially subletting.

For many of the tenants — who have lived in these buildings for decades and are older people with low to modest incomes— finding another apartment in the current rental market is a grueling and sometimes impossible task. In September 2021, the last time that Maimonides accepted a payment from the Calicas, according to the couple, the rent was $1,100 a month. The median rent in New York was nearly $3,500 last month, over $1,450 higher than the national median, according to Zillow.

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