CDP represents tenant associations organized by community-based organizations in litigation to combat landlord abandonment, and correct such housing conditions as lead paint, inadequate heat and hot water, inadequate security, faulty plumbing, and unsafe elevators and staircases. In this advocacy we have been able to obtain millions of dollars worth of repairs in low-income housing throughout New York City.
Brief Case Studies
The following are examples of our litigation work in this area:
DHCR & Keycards
Landlord applied to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal to replace the traditional lock for the entrance door of the building to an electric key fob system. In the conversion, the landlord was insisting that he retain copies of tenants sensitive documents (such as social security cards/passports/driver’s licenses), take pictures of minor children for the key fob system and charge for extra keys. Tenants retained CDP to oppose the conversion. The DHCR decided in the tenants favor by ordering the landlord to provide keys to minors without photos being taken, to refrain from keeping copies of sensitive documents and to provide a key for free to every legal resident living in the apartment.
Tenants’ petition to DHCR
DHCR order on keycards
Working with the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition (NWBCCC), CDP sued the owner of 4619 Park Avenue in order to demand that Bronx Housing Court appoint an independent administrator to take over management of the dilapidated building. Tenants also had been subjected to violent harassment by the building’s porter. After a lengthy trial, the Court granted the tenants’ request for an Administrator in December 2011.
7A Petition- 4619 Park Ave
In conjunction with the Neighborhood Association for Intercultural Affairs (NAICA) , CDP sued the owner of 1600 Sedgwick Avenue after the owner claimed to have suddenly removed over eighty apartments from federal rent regulation. After an early victory in Bronx Supreme Court, the tenants and owner settled the case in December 2011. The settlement provides for continued rent regulation of the apartments by HPD and the lowering and restructuring of rents for the affected tenants.
Bronx Supreme Court decision
CDP has been supporting the organizing work of Movement for Justice in El Barrio in their campaign for repairs and dignified housing in several buildings that had been purchased in 2007 by the U.K.-based predatory equity firm Dawnay Day. When the buildings entered foreclosure in 2009, CDP brought a motion on behalf of dozens of tenants to intervene in the court case and demand that their repair issues be addressed by the Receiver for the properties.
Motion to Intervene
Emergency HP for Repairs
In August 2011, a fire erupted at 1520 Sheridan Avenue. As a result, 14 families were vacated by the city from their homes and the cooking gas service was suspended for the entire building. After not having the ability to cook a Thanksgiving meal, tenants retained CDP to sue the landlord and get the tenants restored to their homes and the gas service restored to the building. Once the case was filed, the Judge kept a vigilant eye on the case, ordering the landlord to work as expeditiously as possible to get the 14 tenants back into their homes and to get the gas back on. In February, less than two months after filing, tenants were back in their apartments and everyone was able to cook.
Decision ordering repairs
CDP and the Tenant Housing Coalition have been working with tenants at 2097 Webster Ave to sue the owner in order to have the court appoint an independent administrator take over their building, which is currently in HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program and also in foreclosure.
7A petition – 2097 Webster Ave