‘More voices, more power’ Tenants rally outside of Crown Heights apartment

Tenant Rally in Crown Heights
A group of residents met outside their apartment building to protest management’s negligence.
Photo by Jada Camille.

Fed up tenants at a Crown Heights apartment building have launched a rent strike against their landlord for alleged poor living conditions and lackluster management.

Residents living at 1074 Eastern Parkway gathered in front of their building on Sunday to call out the landlord, saying they’ve neglected to make proper repairs and solve safety issues that have been present for decades.

Euginia Burrows has been a tenant for 29 years, and says she’s sick of dealing with everything from rodent infestation to shoddy repairs since she and her daughter have lived there.

“The conditions I have been living under are unbelievable — the water, the litter, the mold. You name it,” Burrows said. 

The property is controlled by a Iris Holding Group (IHG), which has seen dozens of 311 complaints over the past free years — including 117 issues with the heat and hot water, 20 complaints about pests, and 19 regarding chipping paint and plaster. 

Viola Bibins, meanwhile, first noticed a leaking radiator in her apartment over three years ago and has been trying to get property managers to hear her complaints since. 

Now her downstairs neighbor’s roof is leaking due to the delayed repair.

“You just get frustrated calling and calling and they don’t care about what’s going on,” she told Brooklyn Paper.

Maryline Alexis took over her parents’ apartment at the building, and has been living there for 20 years. 

Alexis says the issues started with the previous landlord, Rubin Dukler who was named the 11th worst landlord in NYC in 2017

Prior to his 2021 passing, Duckler sold the building to Iris Holding Group (IHG), which for many tenants has simply been a faceless corporation unconcerned with the plights of tenants.

“It’s just ongoing problems over and over again where if the building was run properly I’m sure people would not have an issue paying the rent,” Alexis said.

She claims that when repairs are taken seriously enough, they aren’t given serious solutions — with the building’s superintendent, rather than professionals, doing shoddy work and patch jobs. 

At the rally, tenant organizers with Housing Organizers for People Empowerment (H.O.P.E), called building dwellers to stand together. 

Judith Douglas led the crowd in chats demanding immediate action from management.

“If we don’t get it, shut it down. We are not taking it anymore. This is 2023, enough of the bull—-. We need action, today,” Douglas said to a growing crowd on Sunday. “Come out and join us, we need more voices. More voices, more power. We’re all in this together.”

Charlie Dulik with H.O.P.E says tenants of 1074 are headed to Housing Court this week to take legal action again following a formal summons a number of tenants launched in 2020. Tenants were urged to take action when the building manager failed to live up to promises he made in Dec. 2022.

Michelle Stamp who lives in another Iris Holdings Group owned apartment building has been going through similar issues

She and other apartment dwellers at 1392 Sterling Pl. have been on a rent strike for 15 months. She stood with her neighbors as a sign of solidarity and unity. 

“We’re trying to send a message that low income doesn’t mean stupid. Low income doesn’t mean that we live below standard. So [the landlord] needs to get it together,” Stamp told Brooklyn Paper. “With all three buildings together, it will send a very powerful message that we’re not playing.”

According to HPD, the building is not currently registered and is a part of the agency’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP), an initiative for “apartment buildings that have many housing maintenance code violations”.

All attempts to reach Iris Holding Group were unsuccessful.

For more coverage of the tenant rally, head to BrooklynPaper.com.