Sunset Park Rent Strikers Pack Brooklyn Court

Sunset Park residents fighting the slumlord who owns their buildings sang "We Shall Overcome" outside court in Brooklyn this morning.
Sunset Park residents engaged in a protracted rent strike packed into a Brooklyn courtroom this morning to find out the fate of their three apartment buildings.

The rent strike actually began more than two years ago, when Sara Lopez and other tenants of three buildings, 553, 545, and 557 46th Street began organizing against their landlord, Orazio Petito. Tenants have stepped up their campaign in the past month, and with the help of members of Occupy Sunset Park have begun to draw media attention to their plight.

Residents say they're furious over the neglect of the buildings, which are infested with mold and vermin, frequently go without heat in the winter and without any electricity in the summer. Department of Buildings records for the three buildings list dozens of violations, many of them severe, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

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Lower East Side Neighbors Rally Against Notorious Landlord

Throughout our coverage of evictions and foreclosures these past few months, there's been a giant elephant in the room: Just about everyone one we've reported on has been black or hispanic.

Although there is no doubt the housing crisis is affecting minorities in the outer boroughs the most, this very serious problem can be found all over New York City.

Yesterday evening, a crowd of over 100, made up mostly of Lower East Side residents and activists gathered outside an apartment complex on 58 East 3rd Street to rally against the building's landlord, who has, apparently, demanded residents of the five-story apartment building, along with two neighboring buildings (50 and 54 East 3rd Street), to move out within 60 days.

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Williamsburg Landlord Trashes Tenant's Apartment While She Was Out

Ben Lockhart
We've covered some wacky slumlord stories these past few weeks, but this one takes the cake.

On April 26, Jamal Alokasheh, landlord of a Bedford Avenue apartment, broke into a female tenant's home and demolished the place--ripping the doors off, taking apart parts of the roof, and placing the bathtub in the kitchen--according to a report by the Brooklyn Paper.

The tenant, Jadwiga Bronte, knew Alokasheh was going to enter her apartment, but she claimed he was supposed to be making minor renovations, like fixing the leak.

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Jana Leo's Rape New York: Scary Tale About What Happens When a Bad Landlord Won't Fix Your Front Door Lock

Author Jana Leo
‚ÄčIf someone strolls into your building because the front door's lock is broken, forces his way into your apartment, and then rapes you at gunpoint, can you sue your landlord?

The answer is yes, of course. And a new book, Rape New York, by conceptual artist and former Cooper Union prof Jana Leo, unfolds the tragic and strange court saga about what happens when a woman decides to do just that.

Rape New York opens with a terrifying scene.

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Rabbi Jill Jacobs Tips Her Cap to Voice Slumlords Piece

Goniffs in the midst.
Rabbi Jill Jacobs, a key interviewee in our December 8 cover story about Jewish slumlords, "Beyond Belief," took her arguments to the mainstream media — the Daily News — in an op-ed riff yesterday about the Voice's story.

In "Jew or Not, a Crook's a Crook," the activist rabbi from the Conservative branch gave several tips of the hat to what she called our "provocative" article. She also acknowledged the rarity of Jewish leaders talking about such matters in the mainstream press.

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FDNY Finds Hydroponic Pot Farm in Lower East Side Basement

Oh dear. Lower East Side blog Bowery Boogie reports some drug-fueled drama that went down in a tenement on Rivington Street Monday night when a resident's 911 call led to 10 evictions and the discovery of a hydroponic marijuana farm in the basement of a local Mexican eatery.

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Landlords Forced Out of Hiding by New City Law

NYC's 10 Worst Landlords
A little-publicized law passed by the City Council last week is intended to make it easier for tenants — and city officials — to figure out the identities of landlords of some of the city's most neglected buildings. But insiders say the law is going to be very difficult to enforce.

Even supporters point out that the city's housing department is already overburdened and has enough trouble getting landlords whose identities they do know to comply with the housing code.

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Five Ways to Flog and Blog Your Slumlord. Case No. 2: Shaya Boymelgreen

NYC's 10 Worst Landlords
We told you earlier this year about New York City's 10 Worst Landlords (part 1, part 2), but some tenants are spreading their own words.

Yesterday we pointed out one web site erected by frustrated and angry tenants. Here's another:

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Slumlord Sam Suzuki Turns Himself In to Court

NYC's 10 Worst Landlords
Bronx slumlord Sam Suzuki, slapped with a rare arrest warrant earlier this month by an angry Housing Court judge, has finally turned himself in. But Suzuki, one of the Voice's 10 Worst Landlords, still hasn't fixed that damn stairwell.

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