WABC | Residents of 2 Bronx buildings go on rent strike against landlord for unsafe living conditions

BRONX, New York (WABC) —¬†Residents of two buildings in the Bronx are on a rent strike, refusing to pay their landlord until the landlord fixes problems in their buildings, including rodent and cockroach infestations, peeling paint, leaking pipes, broken cabinets, refrigerators, outlets and stoves.

Samantha Diaz is a resident of 1187 Anderson Avenue. She showed Eyewitness News investigative reporter Kristin Thorne paint peeling from the walls in her apartment, a leaking radiator pipe and a video of dead flies coming from her bathroom ceiling and a rat scurrying across the lobby floor.

“These living conditions are hazardous,” Diaz said. “You can smell, like, the dead rats in the walls.”

In May, 22 residents of the building filed a lawsuit against the landlord to try to get them and the city to address the issues in the building.

Residents brought the suit against Living Emerald NY LLC, Isaac Kassirer, Gary Kassirer, Fransisco Breton, EEGMW LLC and various entities of Anderson LLC.

The lawsuit contains affidavits from the tenants about the conditions in their apartments.

Resident Margaret Adarkwa said she has a leak under her kitchen sink which is rotting the kitchen cabinet. She said some of her outlets don’t have power, her bathtub is peeling, her intercom doesn’t work and she has mice and roaches.

Resident Aaron Asiedu said his toilet moves and leaks from the bottom.

According to the New York City Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the building has 169 open violations with 42 of them being time-sensitive. The agency said it will send inspectors to the building this week to reinspect those violations.

HPD said it had to hire contractors to make emergency repairs at the building and they plan to charge the owner the $9,500 it cost to make the repairs.

“HPD has issued violations for unsafe building conditions and conducted emergency repairs when the owner failed to correct immediately hazardous conditions in a timely manner,” the agency said in a statement.

HPD said it is considering additional enforcement actions against the owner.

Last March, Con Edison threatened to turn off service to the building because the landlord hadn’t paid $12,797 in gas bills. Eyewitness News obtained the letter which the utility provider put in the building as a notice to residents.

Diaz said she, along with about 20 other residents of the building, have agreed not to pay their rent until the landlord fixes the problems.

Eyewitness News has learned that residents of another building owned by the landlord in Highbridge, 1230 Woodycrest Avenue, have already gone on a rent strike.

Last summer, the landlord tried to raise rents on the rent-stabilized buildings. A judge denied the move.

New York Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner (D-Grand Concourse) stood with the tenants in that fight and said she has tried to get the tenants help with the buildings, but she said at one point the landlord denied owning the buildings.

“We’re not dealing with a partner in this fight,” she said.

Tenant organizing group Community Action for Safe Apartments is helping the tenants in both buildings.

Eyewitness News reached out to the management company for the Anderson Avenue building, Living Residential. We were told no one was around to take our call. We also attempted to reach out to the landlord.

Originally published by WABC