The Riverdale Press | Bronx tenants on rent strike

Tenants at 1187 Anderson Ave. in Highbridge announced a rent strike in December, joining their neighbors at 1230 Woodycrest Avenue to demand their landlord immediately repair hazardous conditions in their building.

There are currently 169 housing violations at the Anderson Avenue building. In May, the tenants sued for repairs.

“We have decided as a building that we will be withholding rent from the landlord because we will not be paying for something that is not to our living standards,” said Samantha Diaz, a longtime resident in the building.

Earlier this year, the New York division of homes and community renewal — the state’s affordable housing agency — denied real estate investor Isaac Kassirer of Emerald Equity Group’s application to deregulate hundreds of tenants in six Bronx apartment buildings and ordered the owner to issue rent-stabilized leases to all of them.

Tenants came together through New Settlement’s organizing project, Community Action for Safe Apartments, and were represented by Bronx Legal Services’ Tenant Rights Coalition. Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner also pushed for the state agency’s action in March.

They have since continued to fight for Emerald Equity Group to fix chronic leaks, mold, holes in the walls, damaged floors, bedbugs, and a lack of security in their homes.

“Tenants should never find that – despite paying their rent – they are deprived of the most basic services that their families need and deserve,” Joyner said when the rent strike began Dec. 6. “I strongly support the tenants of 1187 Anderson Avenue as they assert their rights and stand-up against the unscrupulous practices of Emerald Equity Group.”

Originally published by The Riverdale Press, 12/16/22