NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Residents at a Bronx apartment building said they’re living a nightmare — harassed and forced to live in deplorable conditions.
On Thursday, CBS2’s Jessica Moore went inside one apartment building to see the so-called construction harassment first hand.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin (Lower East Side) joined dozens of advocates and jilted tenants at City Hall.
“We will be able to stop the noise, stop the clouds of dust,” she said.
The group was protesting what they called construction harassment by greedy landlords.
“I think what these tenants want is very simple justice. They want to be able to live in a home that’s safe,” Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal (Upper West Side) said.
Specifically, they want the city council to pass twelve bills designed to end harassment and give tenants legal ground to stand on in court.
“They call it NoLita. We call it ‘no low income tenants allowed,” Henry Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski lived with a leaky roof for 15 years until it finally collapsed.
“They’re always polite — we’re sorry; we’ll work on it, and it never happens,” he said.
It’s a struggle Leander Hardaway knows all too well.
“If this was a New York State penitentiary with these health conditions it would be closed down,” Hardaway said.
Hardaway and his four young children have been sleeping on mattresses in a South Bronx building while their apartment is gutted.
“These are all things designed to work on people’s stress level when they live in a community like this,” Hardaway said.
Hardaway said in November, the landlord sent someone to fix a leak and told the family of six to move downstairs. The job was supposed to be done by December.
The building on Prospect Ave has since gone into Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a trustee overseeing repairs and maintenance.
Hardaway said the problems are systemic and calculated.
“A lot of people don’t speak English and what happens is the landlords know that because the building has been flipped a few times and these landlords know they’re dealing with a population that can be marginalized and moved around,” he said.
It’s a harsh reality that advocates are now hoping to change.