This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

BROOKLYN, N.Y.  — A New York attorney may have found a legal loophole to evict rent stabilized tenants and she’s sharing it with landlords. But in an exclusive interview with PIX11 she says her intention was only to prevent harassment and find a better alternative to a broken system.

There’s no confusion about the message from attorney Michelle Itkowitz presented at the TerraCRG Only Brooklyn real estate summit: demolish to evict.

But the intent behind her “Tenant Buyouts – For the Next Generation” session is causing some controversy.

“I did think it was going to be purely focused on how to negotiate buyouts, meaning how to pay people to leave your buildings,” said Will Parker a reporter for The Real Deal.

Parker attended the session and originally broke the story.

“It ended up not being focused on that.  It really was about here’s what you can’t do anymore and the one thing that was really discussed as an option was to plan to tear the building down that you’re trying to ‘de-tenant’.  This is the verb that’s used in the business,” said Parker.

Itkowitz proposed a demolition eviction.

Right now building owners can legally evict tenants if they have approved demolition plans with the Department of Buildings and can show financing for a future project.

But Real Deal Web Editor Hiten Samtani was shocked when Itkowitz pointed out that the paperwork doesn’t mean the project will move forward.

“The most astonishing thing about it is that it could be a dummy demolition,” said Samtani. “So you file plans to demolish the building, that’s your loophole to get out of signing the tenants renewal, and then you don’t actually have to break the building.”

When asked about it during the presentation, Itkowitz reportedly told the audience it would have to be a “nasty person with a grudge” to sue you after the fact.

PIX11 spoke with the attorney Friday who says her presentation was completely misinterpreted.

“If you start from the premise that ever, ever taking away a rent-stabilized apartment for any reason is bad, then I am guilty because that’s part of my practice.  It’s also part of my practice to save rent-stabilized homes if they’re being wrongly taken away.”

Itkowitz, who represents both tenants and landlords, says since the presentation she’s received death threats from tenants and has been contacted by several sketchy landlords.

But she says she would never support filing for a false demolition eviction and added that there are protections for tenants if everything is done above board.

Itkowitz says she presented the demolition eviction as a way owners can develop their property without harassing rent stabilized tenants to move.

“Rather than having a 15,000th story about how bad it is, we should be talking really about about the law as it exists and real conditions on the ground.”

A spokesperson for New York State Homes and Community Renewal, which oversees the permitting process, said filing for a demolition eviction without intent to follow through could be considered fraud.

Any rent regulated tenant who feels that he or she is being harassed by a landlord should contact HCR’s Office of Rent Administration or the Tenant Protection Unit at 718-739-6400.