Projects, Units & Initiatives
The Housing Justice Unit-Group Advocacy works with eligible tenant groups, housing advocates, HDFC coop boards, and groups of shareholders, to promote and preserve affordable housing, improve housing conditions and prevent harassment and displacement throughout NYC’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.
A tenant group
There is power in numbers and you don’t have to suffer or fight alone!
Join with your neighbors to get the safe, decent, affordable housing that your family and community deserve. Contact us if you and your neighbors want to work together for better housing conditions and on protecting, expanding, and enforcing housing rights.
Call 212-577-7988, Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. or email HousingGrpAdv@legal-aid.org.
The Legal Aid Society represented tenants in a rent-stabilized, eight-unit building in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY building, in an action seeking the appointment of a 7A administrator due to the owner’s extended neglect of the building. There were over 100 open housing code violations, and the tenants complained of leaks and mold, rat and mice infestations, collapsing floors, and lead paint, among other issues. The building was also in foreclosure. At the time we filed the 7A petition, there were over 200 open housing code violations.
By the time the judge issued a decision in the tenants’ favor in June 2022, the number of violations had continued to climb to over 400 open housing code violations. The court issued an order and judgment appointing an administrator in July 2022. The administrator has established contact with the tenants and has begun taking steps to secure the building. We are also working with the tenants to determine if their rents are legal and seek to have any illegal rents adjusted by the administrator.
Legal Aid began working with tenants in a 54-unit rent stabilized building in the Bronx with no gas. Legal Aid commenced both an HP action seeking restoration of the gas and a DHCR proceeding opposing the landlord’s application for an MCI rent increase. Still, the tenants were particularly frustrated by the costs they incurred over the seven months they had no cooking gas. Most of the tenants are low income, and the increased cost of meals represented a hardship. The tenants were also furious at the landlord’s long history of ignoring serious complaints about building conditions, the lack of any real financial penalty for his neglect of the building, and the landlord’s history of retaliating against those tenants who asserted their rights under the housing maintenance code. To more fully address the tenants’ concerns, Legal Aid partnered with pro bono counsel and filed a class action lawsuit seeking a rent abatement for the months the tenants lived without cooking gas. The case sought to provide the tenants with compensation for the costs they incurred during the gas shut-off, while also imposing a significant cost on the landlord for his delay in restoring cooking services to the building. The class action format also allowed most tenants to receive compensation without being named in the proceeding—reducing the risk that the landlord would target them for retaliation.
We successfully moved for class certification, after which we were able to negotiate a favorable settlement. After receiving court approval of our settlement on September 30, 2021, the tenant group is now receiving a total of over $70,000 in compensation for the period without cooking gas, in the form of rent credits and payments via check from the landlord. We are in the process of distributing this money to the individual tenants now.
Gothamist: Bronx tenants sue landlord of building with nearly 500 housing violations
THE CITY: Jackson Heights Tenants Sue to Get Their Burned Out Building Back — and Get Back In
Last Updated: 22 September 2022
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