Tenants rally against infamous landlord

Tenants rally against infamous landlord
Tenants of buildings owned by Bronx landlord Ved Parkash protest before a meeting with the landlord on July 12. They held a second rally December 12 in front of the Bronx Housing Court over living conditions in his properties.
Silvio Pacifico

A year after being named the worst landlord in New York City, Ved Parkash is still drawing the ire of his Bronx tenants over conditions in his buildings.

Members of the Parkash Tenant Coaltion, a group of tenants from 11 of Parkash’s properties organized to fight the conditions at his apartments, gathered Monday, December 12, in front of the Bronx Housing Court on Grand Concourse to demand better maintenance at his sites.

Parkash was ranked at the top of the list of the worst landlords in the city by the NYC Public Advocate’s office in 2015.

The 2016 list, released in October, saw Parkash drop to number five, with 257 units in four buildings accumulating 992 NYC Housing and Preservation Development violations and 28 NYC Department of Building violations.

Altogether, his properties have accumulated over 2,300 violations in 11 of his 42 buildings in the Bronx, according to Hal Bergold of Community Action for Safe Apartments, a project of New Settlement Apartments.

CASA helped organize the rally in coordination with Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.

Among those tenants was Marta Melendez of 825 Gerard Avenue, who said that while repairs had recently been done at her place, the apartment of her elderly next door neighbor was in much worse condition.

“That apartment is disgusting – there is mold in the bathroom shower tiles. I feel sorry for that lady.”

Melendez also complained the hot water in the building was sporadic and that the intercom system is broken, making it impossible to let people into the building safely.

Other properties owned by Parkash that have drawn complaints from tenants include 2675 Creston Avenue, 2125 Cruger Avenue, 2487 Davidson Avenue, 180 E. 163rd Street, 58 E. 190th Street, 750 Grand Concourse, 2820 Sedgwick Avenue, 1530 Sheridan Avenue, 2454 Tiebout Avenue and 835 Walton Avenue.

Parkash met with residents of those buildings on July 12 and agreed to several accomodations, such as cleaning and properly maintaining elevators in the buildings and to not initiate holdover evictions without first notifying tenants by certified mail.

He also agreed to waive late fees when the rent is paid anytime within the month it is due.

“Since that meeting, tenants have seen some cosmetic improvements, but many systemic issues, such as major water leaks and structural damage in ceilings remain,” said Bergold.

The conduct of superintendents is still eliciting complaints from tenants, he added.

Superintendents curse at and harass tenants and threaten to call immigration services on them when they try to invoke their tenant rights, he said.

Parkash could not be reached for comment for this story.

Ongoing complaints have not deterred Parkash from acquiring new properties.

He purchased two six-story, elevated buildings at 2899 and 2905-2907 Kingsbridge Terrace for $2.5 million from Isidoros Sfikas according to Real Deal magazine.

The two apartment buildings are located near the Jerome Park Reservoir and house a total of 162 rent-stabilized apartments.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com.Follow him on Twitter @arthurcusano.

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