A group of outraged tenants and two elected officials are calling on the state attorney general to investigate tenant harassment.
Tenant leaders in four buildings in Pelham Parkway, part of the Goldfarb Properties’ portfolio, are the victims of harassment, said Senator Jeff Klein, to encourage rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants to leave so that higher rents may be charged.
A rally was held in front of one of the buildings, 1135 Pelham Parkway North, on Monday, June 22, with Klein, Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj and tenant leaders calling on State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to investigate their allegations through the recently created the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force.
Senator Klein said at the press conference that no tenant should be the victim of systemic harassment or discrimination when they are trying to make a decent home for themselves and their families.
“New York state law currently provides landlords with numerous incentives to evict tenants and raise rents,” said Klein, referring to “dishonest, scamming landlords.” “Let me be clear: this type of profit motive has no place in state law.”
The senator called for an investigation of Goldfarb, and also Amro Management, which runs another building with dissatisfied tenants at 3555 Bruckner Boulevard.
Gjonaj said that the Goldfarb has to be more cooperative and sit down with his tenants.
“The tenants in these buildings have endured months of harassment, reduction of services and disruptions that have negatively impacted their lives,” said Gjonaj.
Joining tenants from 3555 Bruckner Boulevard and 1135 Pelham Parkway North were tenants at Goldfarb properties at 1130 Pelham Parkway South, 1540 Pelham Parkway South and 2160-2166 Matthews Avenue.
Klein said, and several tenant leaders confirmed, that the four buildings in the Pelham Parkway portfolio were acquired in early 2014 by Goldfarb from the Putter family.
Since then, tenants leaders said, they have been subject to numerous appearances in housing court on frivolous claims made by the landlord.
While the alleged infractions are usually dismissed, the time and disruption are causing many in what were once stable buildings to leave, they charged.
“There are moving trucks outside every week,” said tenant Jerome Maidenberg of 1130 Pelham Parkway South, adding that in 2014 the elevator in his building did not work for four and a half months seriously inconveniencing the senior who lives on the sixth floor.
“The landlord is making conditions unbearable so that people move out,” Maidenberg said.
Tenant leader Andrew Goebel, who lives at 1135 Pelham Parkway North, said that in his building the biggest issues are frivolous lawsuits against tenants, rodent infestation, lack of gas service in some apartments and wheelchair accessibility that is not in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
“I decided to form a tenant association with the purpose of keeping myself and my tenants free from harassment by Goldfarb Properties,” said Goebel. “Unfortunately, Goldfarb prefers to run its property management company using intimidation, harassment and frivolous lawsuits filed against tenants with the hopes of evicting us from our rent-controlled apartments.”