Sunset Parkers are demanding a lackadaisical landlord make good on her promise to fix up their dilapidated apartment building.
Property owner Soo Dong agreed in a June 21 court settlement to repair leaks, broken fire escapes, defective carbon-monoxide alarms in the 16-unit building at 430 61st St, records show. But she never delivered, so tenants took to the streets to protest the alleged slumlord on July 29. Dong demanded more money from tenants before cutting off basic services, one renter said.
“She raised our rent, then took away heat, and hot water,” said Nora Huertero, a tenant at a rally discussing the abuse. “We’ve never had issues with previous landlords.”
The apartments have racked up more than 170 open building code and safety violations, according to city data.
Dong is trying to make living in the rent-stabilized building so miserable that they leave, allowing her to raise rent beyond the yearly cap set on occupied apartments and bring in higher-income tenants, a local pol said.
“Gentrification is alive and well, and these are the things that define that,” said Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D–Sunset Park).
Social-justice groups the Urban Justice Center and Neighbors Helping Neighbors filed a complaint with the with the city’s Commission Against Human Rights on July 28 on behalf of 10 families living in the building. The commission may levy additional fines against Dong.
Ignoring the terms of the settlement will result in more fines too, but criminal charges are unlikely, a lawyer for the tenants said.
Dong did not return requests for comment.