The tenants of 2710 Bainbridge Avenue have had enough!After years of watching their building fall apart and suffering through hazardous conditions, the tenants have initiated a lawsuit against their landlord seeking relief.
The Urban Justice Center and Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition helped tenants organize a rally on Thursday, April 1, to announce the lawsuit filed that morning in Bronx Housing Court, which will request the building be transferred to an independent administrator to complete repairs.
“It is rare to see conditions as severe as in this building,” said Garrett Wright, staff attorney for the Urban Justice Center.“That’s why we are asking the Bronx Housing Court to take the landlord out of the picture.”
According to the Department of Housing Preservation & Development the 6-story, 56-unit building, currently has 101 A-Class violations, 675 B-Class violations and 203 emergency C-Class violations.These include collapsing ceilings, broken windows and doors, exposed wiring, molding walls, rodent and roach infestations and defective plumbing.
“They are being taken advantage of by the landlord,” said Joseph Ferdinand of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.“They are paying the rent without receiving the services needed,”
The building, owned by Semper Fi Management 4 Corp, run by Frank Palazzolo, is in HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP).The program lists the city’s worst 200 buildings according to C and B violations and allots the landlord a certain amount of time to fix repairs.Should the landlord neglect these repairs in the allotted time, HPD may enter the building to make the repairs at the expense of the landlord.
“Its sad that after so many years of the tenants reaching out to the landlord to make the necessary repairs that we find ourselves in this situations,” said Assemblyman Jose Rivera.“Today we are telling the landlord that we are not fools and we will bring this to the attention of the city.We are going to rally until we get justice.These people can not wait anymore.”
Tenants expressed their disgust with the landlord’s neglect and the poor conditions they are forced to deal endure.
Emriqueta Garzom, a 7-year tenant, passed around a letter she had received from Con Edison that stated Semper Fi Management had not paid electric bills, warning tenants that as a result commonly used areas may have the service turned off as of April 17.
According to HPD, in the past the agency had been denied entrance to make necessary repairs for the immediately hazardous C violations.
Last year HPD’s Housing Litigation Division went to court to obtain two warrants to enter the property.After Friday, March 19, HPD was issued a warrant to repair B and C violations.The second warrant will allow HPD access after Monday, April 12, to do the major system replacements, including roof replacement, waterproofing, and domestic water supply and waste line replacement.
HPD records show the building has a total of $63,700 in AEP charges, and separately a total of $158,663 in emergency repair charges.
“The building is terrible,” said 10-year-old Gabriella Delacruz.“We need repairs and we keep waiting and waiting.”
Palazzolo was unable to be reached as of press time.