Real Estate Law
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First check the lease as it most probably states that no alteration can be made without the owner’s written consent. As such, yes, you are correct that a landlord can evict you for an unauthorized alteration; but since you live in a rent-controlled unit, the LL will normally object to the alteration in writing and provide you with an opportunity to cure the breach. If you fail to do so, then LL can evict.
On the issue of discrimination based on your being in a rent controlled unit: please see this link. It appears that if source of income is argued as the basis of discrimination, you may have a valid argument since the LL cannot selectively give or deny permissions. In other words, the LL would have to present a plausible non-discriminatory explanation as to why he is denying you the right to make the alterations.
If the LL comes in to do a termite inspection and sees the flooring, he could give you a three day notice to cure and then evict. So, I would not risk this. The LL can claim damages in the form of cost to remove the flooring and the depreciated value of the carpet that was removed and the cost of re-installing the carpet.