The 1229 Franklin Avenue Tenant Association rallied outside their building on July 31 to insist that the lives of Black and brown tenants matter.
Tenants spoke about the deplorable living conditions the landlord Samuel “Simcha” Applegrad forces them to live with and demanded he fixes the elevator and the persistent rats, cockroaches, mold, water leaking and electrical issues.
Applegrad is a frequent “worst landlord” and “worst evictor.” While he’s worth at least $250 million, he refuses to make basic repairs and maintenance at 1229 Franklin Ave. The elevator for the six-floor building has been out for more than four weeks, and he’s holding off on spending $7,000 for the repair.
Meanwhile, disabled and elderly tenants have been forced to stay at home. For families struggling to carry up babies in strollers, groceries and laundry, the stairs pose a serious hazard.
“ I am starting to think that this country is not what we had understood from afar,” said one 1229 Franklin Ave. tenant. “Sometimes I question whether this abandonment and negligence from the landlord and city is because we tenants are hispanic and black. Many of us immigrate from Dominican Republic thinking the conditions in this country are far better. I must admit that I now question whether we should have stayed in our country.”
Another tenant expressed their disgust with the living conditions.
“As a tenant you’re giving him your hard earned cash for basically nothing,” said the tenant. “When you call him,
he acts like you’re asking too much by asking for basic things like a working elevator and a roof
that doesn’t fall on you.”