PROSPECT HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (PIX11) — Donald Graham walked PIX11 News through his mother’s apartment Tuesday in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, where he grew up.

Graham said Nelson Management Group, the landlord of the rent-stabilized buildings at 214-218 Prospect Place, has been consistently slow to conduct repairs or improvements.

Several tenants, joined by New York State Sen. Zellnor Myrie, staged a rally Tuesday outside their building and accused Nelson Management Group of trying to deregulate the rents by citing capital improvements made some 40 years ago.

“It’s just not fair to create a system to push us out of our homes,” said longtime tenant James Frederick.

It is a critical issue in a city where market-rate rents are often unaffordable for working-class families.

Myrie recently sent a letter to the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, urging it to delay its expected decision on Nelson Management Group’s application for rent deregulation.

“What Nelson Management is saying is that not even the 3% rent increase that was just approved by this Rent Guidelines Board is enough,” said Myrie.

A Division spokesperson declined to comment, citing pending administrative procedures, but adds:

“HCR continues to ensure the laws governing rent regulation are strictly enforced; that includes proactive audits, investigations, and other enforcement activities to protect nearly one million tenants and New York’s rent regulated housing stock. We have received the Senator’s letter, but cannot comment further on pending administrative procedures.”

A spokesperson for Nelson Management Group told PIX11 its application for rent deregulation is happening now following last year’s expiration of a tax abatement – received some 40 years ago by the previous building owner.

The spokesperson added, “The City of New York…affirmed in 1987…that the previous owner completed the necessary and extensive renovations and building-wide capital improvements to achieve the 75 percent threshold to remove the property from rent stabilization. As the new owner, Nelson Management looks forward to continuing to operate a financially stable, well-maintained property for years to come.”

It’s not a done deal. The tenants will have the opportunity to request from the state an extension of their rent stabilization, and then it will be up to an administrative official to make a decision.