A group of frustrated Bronx tenants is taking their landlord and building management company to housing court seeking repairs for nearly 500 violations racked up over the course of several years.
The Legal Aid Society filed the lawsuit in May on behalf of 41 tenants living in 1349 Stratford Ave., a 72-unit rent-stabilized building owned by Patbru Realty Co. LLC, the defendants in the case.
The lawsuit, first filed in May, paints a picture of grim living conditions where tenants lack access to basic utilities, with no relief from Patbru Realty Co. LLC or the building’s management company, Concord Management. Those claims are backed by the city Housing Preservation and Development agency, which has nearly 500 active complaints stretching back to 2016..
In addition to not having cooking gas since January of this year, the tenants allege they’ve endured regular hot water outages, lead paint violations, persistent leaks, and mold and vermin infestations, according to the lawsuit. Those claims are backed by the HPD website, which shows there to be 466 housing violations, including 145 Class C violations, considered the most egregious.
Winifred Coulton, 75, has lived in the building for over 40 years, and has watched her apartment and the building deteriorate during that time. Desperate, Coulton reached out to local state Sen. Luis Sepulveda, who reached out to Legal Aid Society to take the case.
“When I moved in here, the building was like 60 or 55 years old,” she told Gothamist. “And from that time on, no maintenance, no interior, no new cabinets, no new, nothing.”
When I moved in here, the building was like 60 or 55 years old. And from that time on, no maintenance, no interior, no new cabinets, no new, nothing.
In 2018, Coulton claims the ceiling in her bathroom caved in. Another time, Coulton alleges steam from the boiler room directly below her apartment seeped into her wood floors, causing them to swell and become so lopsided they resembled a skate park.
“Do you know how them boys be doing skating on those skateboards up and down them little ramps and stuff? I had my own ramp,” she said.
When repairs do happen, Coulton said they’re subpar.
“It’s a mess because it’s all spit and glue,” she said. Her apartment still has five open HPD violations.
According to the suit, "the landlord's neglect of the building amounts to harassment in an attempt to get the tenants to give up their rent-stabilized apartments.
“These folks have a real investment in the building, they remember a time, well, when things were not like this and they're willing to fight about it,” Legal Aid Society staff attorney Russell Crane said. “People who move every couple years aren't necessarily as invested in their building and in their community.”
After the lawsuit was filed, the landlord finally made moves to reinstate gas in the building, repiping the building line by line, according to the Legal Aid Society.
“We certainly think that the pace at which they're going is as a result of the lawsuit being filed,” Crane told Gothamist. “What we have not seen from them is any offer of compensation for our clients who have had to endure now running on six months of living without gas and the ability to cook properly in their homes.”
The lawsuit is asking a housing court judge to order the landlord to correct the violations.
Patbru Realty Co. LLC and Concord Management could not be reached for comment.