AAFE has been advocating for the tenants of 211 Madison St. in Manhattan, who have been subjected to harassment and worse at the hands of their landlord. DNA Info covered the story:
A landlord is trying to push out a handful of elderly rent-stabilized tenants by depriving them of cooking gas after harassing them with buyout offers did not do the job, say residents, whose lawyers claim it is all part of a scheme to replace them with higher-paying tenants. The residents at 211 Madison St., several of whom are more than 80 years old and have been in the building for decades, said they have been suffering for roughly four months without gas, leaving them unable to make the food for their restricted diets and placing a hardship on their caretakers. “It is so difficult,” said 91-year-old Puiming Tang-Wong, who has lived in her apartment for 43 years. “I don’t have soup to drink.” Tang-Wong’s caretaker either has to make the broth at her own home and bring it to her client, or dish out money for a take-out alternative… The outage has been especially devastating for the building’s oldest tenants, said one of the lawyers, not only because it makes it difficult for them to keep to their strict diets, but because it creates a financial strain on the already cash-strapped elders. “This effects the elderly tenants more, because they’re on a fixed income,” said Larry Leung of Manhattan Legal Services. “They are unable to afford eating out every single night.” … (The property owner) first tried to force out the rent-stabilized residents with aggressive buyout offers when it took over the building a year ago, said Leung, who claims the group is now trying to finish the job by harassing the tenants out of their homes.
Last week, AAFE and Manhattan Legal Services took the property owner, Silverstone Property Group, to court. As DNA Info reported, Silverstone was caught doing unsafe and illegal construction work and faced Buildings Department violations. It has been dragging out building renovations and has refused to tell residents when the work will be finished. Tenants were given hot plates, which pose a potential fire hazard.
Following the publication of the story, a settlement was reached with the owner. The tenants will be receiving retroactive rent credits of $150 per month, from January of this year. Silverstone has 90 days to restore gas service.