Frustrated tenants consider rent strike

August 24, 2008 5:32:23 PM PDT
Some tenants in upper Manhattan are so frustrated with the conditions inside their apartment building that they may call a rent strike."The entire building shook, and there was this loud boom and a vibration of the building," tenant Elsie Arias said. "And I jumped up."

The sound Arias heard came from the elevator, which hasn't worked since earlier this month, when it fell from the top floor of the building on Pinehurst Avenue. It plunged six stories down to the basement with someone riding in it.

Also in the building, the mother of three has been dealing with some issues in her kitchen as well. She said she had to buy a skillet, because there has been no gas in the building for more than four months.

"A lot of one-dish meals," she said. "And I like to bake a lot. We like to cook in the oven, but we can't do that. We haven't had lasagna or baked ziti or any of that good stuff that the kids like."

Now fed up and frustrated, tenants are considering a rent strike. They say they've called their management company, 90 Pinehurst, LLC, and written letters. But they say they get nowhere.

"This building has over 150 violations," City Councilman Miguel Martinez said. "It is a building that is posing a safety hazard, particularly for the seniors, particularly for the most vunerable who live on the upper floors."

Results from tests done on paint in Elsie's unit show that lead was found in many spots where her kids play.

There was some work being done in the building, but people living there say they're even leary about that.

"Here, we're not feeling that the repairs are being done as quickly and safely as possible," tenant Juliet Keeler-Lebien said. "And as tenants, that's our number one concern."

Eyewitness News tried to contact the management company, but there has been no response.

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STORY BY: Eyewitness News reporter Kemberly Richardson

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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