New York Tenants Take Over Buildings With Small Downpayments

Tenants: have you ever thought you could do a better job keeping up your building than your landlord does? With help from a tireless advocate, some New York City renters are about to get the chance to do just that.

The familiar story -- a building stays full despite questionable maintenance, a landlord fails to pay taxes, the city takes over -- has a happier ending in the Bushwick, Brooklyn and Morningside Heights, Manhattan, just south of Harlem. A group called the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board (UHAB) has corralled a loan for acquiring tax-delinquent properties and a grant to help long-time tenants become shareholders in a new capital structure for the buildings.

And in one case, the renters only had to come up with $2,500. Here's how it works.