Updated 06/07/2012 03:49 PM
Brooklyn Tenants Fed Up With Property Neglect File Suit
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Tenants at a Brooklyn building are suing their landlord, saying they're being forced to live in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.
Twenty-one residents of 665 New York Avenue in Prospect Lefferts Gardens are now being represented by South Brooklyn Legal Services.
They say their landlord, Urban American Management has failed to make necessary repairs to in their building, including fixing drains, ceilings, unsealed windows and radiators.
They say there is also a mouse and waterbug problem.
Attorney Hans Wetzell says a number of tenants pay more than $1,000 a month in rent and have been living in the building for decades.
"We filed in Brooklyn housing court bringing Urban American to court to compel them to do repairs. It's what's called an HP action, specifically designed to force landlords to do repairs," Wetzell said.
"The drain, the release that lets the water out of the tub does not work, it hasn't worked for months. And all my sinks need replacing," said Tenant Ellen Horah, who is bound to a wheelchair.
One tenant says there's been nothing but trouble since Urban American took over the building five years ago.
"The services are nill. The super is not supported because he doesn't get the parts that he needs to do the repairs that he needs to do. When you call the Urban American office, the people there are very rude, they never call you back," said Tenant Jennette Gregory.
"In my apartment the roof was leaking -- water is coming through the wall. It creates mold, it's not healthy for me. The kitchen cabinets don't stay closed," noted Tenant Jennette Gregory.
The management company issued a statement saying, "Most of the residents named in the complaint never notified Urban American of the issues in their apartment that require attention. As soon as we are notified of these problems, we respond in a timely manor. The first time we heard of many of these issues was in the filed lawsuit."
The company also says since acquiring the building in 2007 it has invested more than $700,000 on improvements including a new roof and upgraded elevator equipment.