The NY Daily News reports 27 low income tenants in New York’s Chinatown have reached a deal with their landlord to avoid eviction.
The deals with landlord Joseph Betesh will give the tenants at 83 and 85 Bowery a long term lease and the apartments will remain rent stabilized.
Word of the settlement was reported Tuesday, on the same day the tenants and their supporters held a rally outside the state Supreme Court building where a session was also held.
It also follows increased political and community scrutiny of the plight faced by the tenants.
On Monday, Rep Nydia M. Velazquez (D-NY) wrote a scathing letter to Betesh.
“Members of the properties’ Tenants Association have reported that the buildings are unsafe and that living conditions in the buildings are substandard. Problematic conditions include, but are not limited to: deteriorated wood beams and joists along the staircases; slanted floors and staircases; leaking ceilings that have resulted in mold and mildew on ceilings and walls; peeling plaster and paint; deteriorated bathroom tile and mortar; and inadequate heat in the winter months. The media has reported that one resident had to use an umbrella to stop-up a leak until the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”) investigated the incident and forced your company to make repairs. As a result of these conditions, I am informed the Department of Buildings (“DOB”) and HPD have issued numerous violations at 83 Bowery and 85 Bowery and DOB has issued partial vacate orders.”These reported living conditions are disturbing, but what is perhaps more alarming are reported claims that your company is intentionally allowing the buildings to fall into disrepair as an excuse to empty them and evict 27 families from their homes. According to court filings, “the landlord has conjured up a claim that the buildings are in imminent danger of collapse and is attempting to use it as a vehicle to quickly empty out two buildings in Chinatown and evict 27 families from their homes.” If such motivation is in fact correct, these actions are unacceptable.”
The deal is expected to be finalized before the next court hearing on June 15.
“I want to win the case and not move,” said Shuqing Wang, who’s lived in the apartment with her family for three years.. “My kids go to school here, my husband works here. We want to stay here.”
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