Grand Concourse tenants’ demands for better living conditions are being met by their landlord.
The tenants of 825 Gerard Avenue celebrated their successful campaign against one of NYC’s worst landlords, Ved Parkash, as they filed a court case on Wednesday, July 19 demanding repairs with support from Community Action for Safe Apartments and the Community Development Project.
Parkash and the tenants entered into a settlement in which all repairs alleged in the case will be completed by Wednesday, August 30.
Located a few blocks from Yankee Stadium, the six-story, 85-unit rent-stabilized building has fallen into disrepair since Parkash, who is ranked number four on Public Advocate Letitia James’ Worst Landlord List, purchased the building in 1989.
For over a year, the tenants who have demanded Parkash make vital repairs to the 88-year-old building, have participated in the Parkash Tenant Coalition meeting with their landlord, organized a press walkthrough exposing deplorable living conditions and filed a successful rent reduction challenge with the NYC Division of Homes and Community Renewal.
All tenants on the court case have seen work done in their apartments with the majority reporting that the work has been completed.
Last year, Mohamed Gafur, a 16-year tenant, was living with cracked walls, a dislocated window frame and a detached closet doorframe.
A year later, these issues as well as his peeling kitchen and bathroom walls and bathroom sink cupboard have been resolved.
However, Gafur said his kitchen cupboards and the building’s wiring still need to be repaired.
“If it wasn’t for CASA nothing would have been done,” he said.
“I am very satisfied with the repairs that the landlord has done and with the support CASA has given us in order to hold him accountable,” expressed Marta Melendez, tenant leader and 43-year tenant. “We have finally achieved the services that we deserve.”
“Compelling Ved Parkash to act and make repair corrections before the judge’s order is a victory and speaks to the power of organized tenants,” said Addrana Montgomery, Urban Justice Center staff attorney.
Montgomery added Urban Justice Center will continue supporting the tenants to ensure all of 825 Gerard Avenue’s repairs and violations are properly corrected.
NYC Housing Preservation and Development said as of Tuesday, August 1 there were 155 open housing code violations at 825 Gerard Avenue with 47 Class A non-hazardous violations, 80 Class B hazardous violations and 28 Class C immediately hazardous violations.
The violations were reduced from 182 open violations.
“Parkash Management has addressed tenant issues and concerns throughout the building, apartment-by-apartment, with the exception of three apartments whose repairs are currently being expedited and will be completed in the very near future,” said a Parkash Management spokesperson.
“Parkash is deeply committed to providing quality affordable housing to Bronx families and looks forward to continuing to build a cooperative relationship with its tenants toward that end,” he added.
Parkash owns approximately 40 buildings in the Bronx.