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Projects, Units & Initiatives

Housing Justice Unit-Group Advocacy

The Housing Justice Unit-Group Advocacy works with eligible tenant groups or associations, community groups and advocates, HDFC coop boards, and groups of shareholders, to promote and preserve affordable housing, improve housing conditions and prevent harassment and displacement in NYC’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.

We Can Help When

A landlord

  • doesn’t provide heat or hot water to the building
  • won’t make repairs
  • has abandoned the building
  • is harassing or trying to evict tenants
  • has or is trying to raise rents illegally
  • has filed for bankruptcy or is in foreclosure
  • has threatened to or has filed a case in court or at an administrative agency

A tenant group

  • is on rent strike or wants to start a rent strike
  • wants to sue their landlord in court for repairs, harassment or other acts
  • wants to file a complaint or petition at an administrative agency
  • wants to buy their building
  • wants to organize and/or structure a tenant association or housing group
  • has questions about tenant and housing rights and how to exercise them
  • wants information about possible non-legal and other community resources

A co-op

  • needs advice and/or assistance with corporate governance issues
  • is not functioning properly
  • is threatened with foreclosure

Contact

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.

COVID-19 Response

Since the start of the pandemic the Housing Justice Unit-Group Advocacy has continued its work helping tenants enforce their rights to not only stay in their homes, but to have safe, habitable, living conditions, rights made even more critical because of COVID-19. To protect the health and safety of our staff, clients, and the public, our staff is working remotely but have not stopped providing information, advice, and legal representation to New Yorkers in need. Our phones, hotlines, and electronic mailboxes (listed above) remain operational and responsive to inquiries and requests for help. Through the use of conference calls, email, Zoom and other means of electronic communication, we’re not only working with former and existing clients but are assisting the many people that suddenly find themselves in need of legal assistance.

Our Impact

In the midst of the pandemic, we began working with tenants in a rent stabilized, 33-unit building owned by Mel Service Inc. in the Bronx. With the assistance of the tenant leaders, we held several tenant meetings over Zoom to talk about rent stabilized rights, explain how a lawsuit would benefit tenants, and to encourage tenants to document their housing conditions. We also requested rent histories from DCHR. The building has over 350 open violations issued by the N.Y.C Department of Housing Preservation and Development (DHPD), with 179 in the Class B (hazardous) category and 137 in the Class C (immediately hazardous) category. Building-wide, there is a lack of cooking gas, severe vermin infestation, a defective entrance door, and a lack of janitorial services. Within individual units, tenants have experienced leaks, electricity outages, mold, and mice.

Additionally, tenants allege harassment by the landlord and that the landlord has also forged signatures on renewal leases in an effort to increase rents. Although the building is in the Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP), the violations have not been cured and DHPD has not commenced litigation to compel the landlord to cure the violations. The Legal Aid Society recently filed an HP action against the landlord using the Court’s electronic filing system, NYSCEF. In the filed HP case, we are seeking the restoration of cooking gas, the correction of all violations, the imposition of civil penalties, and an injunction to stop the landlord from harassing the tenants.

In The News

NY1: Single Mother of 2 Disabled Kids says They Live With Roaches, Rats and Mold
THE CITY: Landlord of Crumbling Bronx Building Owes City $12.6M
DNA Info: Religious Group Makes Building ‘Unlivable’ in Bid to Boot Tenants, They Say