Mace resident fights for livable conditions

Bobi Brooks points out the mold in her apartment at 776 Mace Avenue, a result of the leaks found in her bathroom and bedroom, just a few of the many intolerable conditions she deals with each day. Photo by Amanda Marinaccio

Feeling raindrops on your head would normally indicate you were outdoors, but for Bobi Brooks this is not the case.

Recently the six-year tenant has decided to take a stand against the intolerable conditions found in her apartment on the 5th floor of 776 Mace Avenue.

Almost everyday throughout the rainy month of June, Brooks had to deal with water entering her bedroom through cracks above the windows. During the winter months, icicles would form.

In her bathroom, water from the apartment above leaks through the ceiling and drips from the light fixture, causing Brooks to be concerned for her safety.

These conditions have brought mold and mildew throughout her bathroom and the shower.

“I am not used to living like this,” said Brooks, who lives with her boyfriend. “My main concern is improving the quality of my life. We pay our rent on time and we deserve respect.”

Brooks explains that combating rodents and insects has also become a constant battle, along with praying the elevator doesn’t get stuck traveling to and from her apartment.

According to the building’s owner, Nick Grishaj, only one tenant appears to have problems.

“I have an active super and I go there daily,” said Grishaj. “We ask the tenants to leave notes if they have complaints and we would be happy to take care of them.”

On Thursday, July 2, after numerous calls to 311 by Brooks and with the support of Senator Jeff Klein, representatives from the Department of Housing Preservation & Development went to inspect the building.

According to HPD a total of 8 B and C violations were issued for broken windows, cracked plaster, water leakage, mold, cockroaches and mice, and a broken bathtub.

The C violations allow the landlord 24 hours upon notice of the violations to fix the problems, after which HPD has the authority to repair them at the landlord’s expense. The B violations allow 30 days before HPD is able to issue further violations.

“I’ve always been a strong advocate for tenants’ rights, and it is unacceptable that my constituents cannot feel at home in the apartments they rent,” said Klein. “With eight violations issued on July 2, and many more in the past few years, it’s clear that there’s work that needs to be done immediately. I will continue to work with HPD to ensure that this situation in rectified.”

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