Legal Aid Fights For Staten Island Family Still Suffering From Hurricane Sandy
MONDAY, MARCH 25, 2013

Amin Alhadad and his wife and four children sought the help of The Legal Aid Society in Staten Island after his landlord, who is still collecting rent from the City's rental assistance program, refused to make repairs to their home that was damaged by Hurricane Sandy. "The landlord should be repairing the house," Teresa DeFonso, Attorney-in-Charge of the Staten Island Neighborhood Office of The Legal Aid Society, told New York 1. "The City's Housing, Preservation and Development agency has placed numerous violations based on the fact that these repairs have not been done and are continuing not to be done."

Mr. Alhadad said that the City's Rapid Repair offered free services, but needed the landlord to sign off on the work. Even though Mr. Alhadad sent the documents to the landlord, the landlord ignored them. When the landlord sued Mr. Alhadad for the $7,000 he claims in back rent, a Judge ruled that the landlord failed to prove he was owed anything. Mr. Alhadad, who is unemployed, says he has tried to find another apartment, but no one will rent to him because he has no income.

The familly is staying at a hotel. "We have nowhere to go. I mean, we have nowhere to go, " Mr. Alhadad told New York 1.

Since the storm, The Legal Aid Society has provided comprehensive disaster relief legal assistance in more than 5,000 legal matters for New Yorkers who have been affected adversely by Hurricane Sandy in Staten Island, Far Rockaway, Coney Island, Red Hook, and Lower Manhattan.




New York Tonight
NY1 (IND) New York
March 25th, 2013 8-9 PM

Cheryl Wills, Co-Anchor: A Midland Beach man says he and his family cannot get back into their Sandy-damaged home because their landlord refuses to make the necessary repairs, but as New York 1’s Aaron Dickens shows us, the landlord is still collecting rental assistance money from the city on the tenants’ behalf.

Amin Alhadad, Midland Beach: It’s really taken a huge toll out of me, out of my kids.

Aaron Dickens, Reporter: Amin Alhadad says this home he rents on Slater Boulevard looks the same now as it did the day after Sandy hit.

Amin Alhadad: No lights. I mean, no insulation, no nothing.

Aaron Dickens: Alhadad signed a five-year lease in 2010, but has been staying at a hotel with his wife and four children. Alhadad is enrolled in a city rental assistance program, which has paid the landlord nearly $5,000 since the storm hit.

Amin Alhadad: He’s been collecting the rent, but collected insurance money also, doesn’t want to do any repair in the house. I guess he’s disappointed the house didn’t get washed away.

Aaron Dickens: Alhadad says NYC’s Rapid Repair came to the house offering free services, but they needed the landlord to sign off on the work. He then sent the landlord the documents and says they were ignored.

We contacted landlord Giuseppe Azzaro, who told us he hasn’t made repairs because Alhadad owes him $7,000 in back rent, but when he sued Alhadad for the money, a judge ruled that Azzaro failed to prove he was owed anything. Alhadad has enlisted the help of attorney Teresa DeFonso from the non-profit Legal Aid Society.

Teresa DeFonso, the Legal Aid Society: The landlord should be repairing the house. A city agency housing preservation development has placed numerous violations based on the fact that these repairs have not been done and are continuing not to be done.

Aaron Dickens: Alhadad, who is unemployed, says he has tried to find another apartment, but no one will rent to him because he has no income.

Amin Alhadad: We have nowhere to go. I mean, we have nowhere to go.

Aaron Dickens: Officials from the NYC Department of Social Services say they are looking into the case; Alhadad says he will continue to fight until the repairs are made. On Staten Island, Aaron Dickens, New York 1.