New York Daily News: Bronx Tenants To Sue Notorious Landlord Over Building Violations
MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017

Attorneys with Legal Aid’s Tenant Rights Coalition filed suit today on behalf of 21 residents from an apartment building in the Bronx. The building owner, Rawles Isaacs, has consistently earned himself a top spot among the city’s worst landlords, placing eighth in last year’s list compiled by Public Advocate Letitia James.




New York Daily News
Bronx Tenants To Sue Notorious Landlord Over Building Violations
By Denis Slattery
March 27, 2017

A group of tenants are suing an infamous Bronx building owner who has allowed their apartments to become overrun with rodents and riddled with leaks.

Rawles Isaacs has consistently earned himself a top spot among the city’s worst landlords, placing eighth in last year’s list compiled by Public Advocate Letitia James.

There are over 400 Housing Preservation and Development department violations in Rawles’ 200-unit Mt. Hope building in 1982 Morris Ave., where tenants say they are constantly without heat, hot water and other basic services.

Tenants complain about persistent leaks and lack of safety because the building doors are routinely unlocked, and the intercom system and security cameras aren’t working.

There are also issues with the building’s elevator on a regular basis.

Attorneys with the Legal Aid Society are filing a lawsuit on behalf of 21 tenants on Monday seeking basic repairs in the building.

“The goal is to push back on the gentrification pressures people are feeling in the Bronx,” said Jessica Bellinder, the supervising attorney of Legal Aid Society’s tenant rights coalition.

“It’s one of the last places that is still affordable for working class and lower-income families.”

That includes Norma Perez, 69, who has been living in the building for four years.

Over a recent two-week stretch, there was no hot water, and the flooding over her ceiling worsened.

“All they do every year is just patch it up and the same thing happens,” she said, referring to management’s response to the leak.

“That roof, there’s something wrong up there,” she added. “My ceiling is all corroded.”

Harry George, 82, who has lived in a fourth-floor apartment in the building for 22 years, said he feels trapped when the elevator goes out of service.

“If I go out shopping someone else has to bring my stuff up for me,” he said. “It takes a while to get up.”

In recent years, the Legal Aid Society has worked with the city to help provide tenants with legal services when dealing with especially egregious landlords.

Ben Seibel, a law graduate working with the nonprofit, said he believes that there is power in numbers.

“There’s a lot at stake for people in these situations,” he said. “If there’s a group of people who are all saying the same thing and willing to say it, I think it’s more powerful if you go to the landlord as a group.”

Calls to Isaacs seeking comment were not returned.

 

This article originally appeared in the New York Daily News.