NY1: Astoria Tenants Say They’re Facing Harassment While Rent Stabilization Lawsuit is Pending
FRIDAY, JULY 07, 2017

Sateesh Nori from Legal Aid’s Queens Civil Practice updates Clodagh McGowan from NY1 about recent incidents of landlord harassment at the New York School of Ministry in Astoria.

Astoria Tenants Say They’re Facing Harassment While Rent Stabilization Lawsuit is Pending
By Clodagh McGowan
July 6, 2017

As they wait for their day in court, tenants say the religious not-for-profit group that tried to kick them out is now harassing them. Our Clodagh McGowan has the follow-up to a story we've been telling you about here on NY1.

A plaque in the common space of the New York School of Urban Ministry's dormitory reads, “Home is where the heart is.”

But tenants say since they received eviction notices last year, they're not exactly feeling the love.

"There's been a lot of harassment," said one man, who only wants to be identified by his first name, Jacob.

Jacob has lived in the NYSUM building for eight years. The low income dormitory is run by a Christian not-for-profit in Astoria.

The Legal Aid Society filed a lawsuit on behalf of the tenants. In the complaint, the tenants claim their apartments are protected by the city’s Rent Stabilization Law. It allows each resident renewable leases.

"Since then we've attempted to negotiate with the landlord, NYSUM, to see if they'd be willing to discuss a resolution of the case. And unfortunately we haven't gotten very far," said Sateesh Nori, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society’s Queens Neighborhood Office.

While the lawsuit is still pending, tenants say they've faced intimidation tactics at the hands of the landlord. This woman, who asked we conceal her identity, says the landlord continues to harass the tenants by asking when they're moving out, as well as threatening to end services. She says the landlord has also brought unknown people into the dorms. She's seen strange men on the women only floor.

"I felt uncomfortable and I felt that my privacy was invaded. So I was shaking, I was nervous, I was scared," said the woman.

State Senator Michael Gianaris says his office has received many complaints from tenants.

"It's something we're not going to stand for. We've been fighting them tooth and nail on it ever since. And yet they continue with these unscrupulous tactics. And we're going to continue shining a light on what they're doing," said Gianaris, who represents the area.

We were unable to reach the attorney representing NYSUM by phone.

Meantime, while some tenants have already moved out, these tenants plan on holding their ground until they have their day in court.

This article originally appeared on NY1.