Monday, December 29, 2014

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NY1 For You: Tenants Of Fire-Damaged Brooklyn Building Struggle With Neglectful Management

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After a Brooklyn building fire back in April left apartments scorched and tenants out of luck, residents are still looking for answers five months later. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following report.

A padlock hanging from Coydette Beharie's front door is evidence of a fire, which destroyed several apartments in her building back in April and left hers barely livable.

"I'm still without light in three parts of my apartment," Beharie says.

The damage from the fire that ripped through the upper floors of a rental building in Clinton Hill has sat untouched in many apartments, leaving residents with no choice but to vacate.

"There were tenants that were living in there, they have decided, because management did nothing, that they just had to move," says tenant Bonita Savage.

This was the tip of the iceberg, according to long-time tenants, who claim the 35-unit building is riddled with problems, including a broken elevator, a damaged roof and mold.

"We're all really concerned about electrical wiring throughout the building, water damage that is happening," Savage says.

Residents say these problems have not been addressed by the management.

"You call, and they disregard your calls, they don't come out," says one tenant.

"I've been in court ten years with the same issues," says another.

City Councilwoman and Democratic candidate for public advocate Letitia James has meet with tenants and management.

"I would argue that, in fact, this is nothing more than an attempt to evict long-term residents in this building and basically take advantage of market rents," James said.

NY1 reached out repeatedly to the building's management, Prospect Management Inc., for comment but haven't heard back.

NY1 also contacted the Department of Buildings and found there are seven open violations on the building and over $14,000 owed in fines.

A DOB spokeswoman said the agency inspected the building five times in September and found the work management is doing is mainly cosmetic, which doesn't require permits.

The spokeswoman went on to say the DOB is investigating complaints about the broken elevator.

Meanwhile, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development issued vacate orders for six units due to the fire damage.

A spokesman told NY1 the agency has rescinded the vacate orders on four of those units, and expects to rescind another one next week.

This news is not promising to residents, who say the city and management need to address the serious issues they have to live with day in and day out.

NY1 for You will keep you updated.

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