Tenants in one large complex of art-deco style buildings on Pelham Parkway South are fed up, and they want some major repairs to take place on their homes.
The residents of 750-60 Pelham Parkway South have been fighting a battle with the owners of their building, SG2 Properties, LLC, a Manhattan based firm that has been buying many area buildings, since 1999.
Long standing issues of mice-infestation, faulty wiring, and leaky plumbing, as well as security concerns, were brought to a head when a fire tore through the buildings, which share a common courtyard and basement, at 752 Pelham Parkway South and badly damaged six apartments after a tenant left a lamp on by accident at 4:51 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1.
“The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is currently in litigation with the owners,” said Evelyn Soto, of the Neighborhood Initiatives Development Corporation, an Allerton based non-profit that helps tenants and homeowners deal with a broad array of housing issues. “We are doing a rent reduction for lack of services in these buildings for 60 tenants.”
The building amassed 899 HPD violations during its last inspection, up substantially from 630 in the previous inspection.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca and NIDC hosted meeting on Wednesday, October 29 where tenants were told about how HPD is working to secure and repair the building.
While details about the meeting are not available as of press time, Vacca’s aides said he stands ready to help the tenants of the building work out their dispute with the landlord.
Security issues have plagued the buildings for years, as many of the locks on the doors have been broken and never repaired.
“Councilman Jimmy Vacca ordered a floor to cellar inspection of the buildings, and HPD counted between 800 and 900 violations,” said tenant association president Oscar Ruiz. “I think that the current owners are one of the biggest slumlords around.”
Ruiz, who also sits on the 49th Precinct Community Council and is an executive board member of the Pelham Parkway South Community Association, said that in addition to numerous security concerns, the intercoms in the buildings have been broken for years and never replaced.
“I pay my rent to have a home in this building,” Ruiz stated. “If someone comes to see me, I have to get dressed, and walk from my apartment on the sixth floor of the building downstairs to the front door to let them in because the intercoms are not in service.”