El Barrio Tenants Win Against Landlord
April 12, 2010
New York—Immigrant tenants and the organization Movement for Justice in el Barrio—who sued the administration that maintains 47 buildings in El Barrio for failures of repair and harassment—have won a victory.
The receiver that is designated by the state when the owner of the buildings went bankrupt announced on Friday that he would change the company that had managed the buildings for decades under different names and whom the tenants declare is guilty of negligence and mistreatment. EH Property Management will be replaced by Lawrence Properties.
When the owner of the buildings Dawnay Day went bankrupt in October of 2009, the court named Harvey Fishbein as Receiver. He decided to keep the managers of the buildings, EH Property Management, previously called RE Management.
“We have reached an agreement”, said Juan Haro, from Movement for Justice in El Barrio. “Harvey Fishbein has decided to remove the company. This is something important because they are going to feel a change from one day to the next. They are humble people of low income that had to endure this”, noted.
A tenant, Maria Mercado, assured: “We are pleased, we are very happy because we have hope that the new people are going to give us better service”.
The Nicaraguan tenant, that has been living with her family for more than 30 years at 1571 Lexington Avenue, recalled that under the old company’s administration, “One used to call the office to submit a complaint and they used to say: ‘Tell the super’. The super would say: ‘Call the office’”. They did not let you in to the office. They talk to you only through the intercom”, Mercado informed.
The 47 buildings have 1,134 units.
The organization, Movement for Justice in El Barrio and the tenants presented the demand in March in Supreme Court. Haro stated that the legal case moves forward. In addition to removing the EH Property Management, the demand seeks to assure that the tenants have access to all the accounts of how the administration is using the money and that the tenants have the rights to take the administration to the Housing Court for repairs, something that normally is not permitted while a property is in mortgage implementation.