**For Immediate Release**
October 29, 2009
CONTACTS: Elana Shneyer - (646) 245-2935, Elana_shneyer@prattarea.org,
Amyre Loomis - (718) 260-9191, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tenants in Predatory Equity Buildings Speak out about poor conditions, harassment and the loss of affordable housing- immediately following forum on Poverty, Housing, Hunger and Homelessness
Brooklyn, NY- Council Member Letitia James and tenants from Brooklyn apartment buildings owned by the predatory equity company Dermot gathered outside of Trinity Church Parish Hall Thursday (October 29, 2009) evening to call attention to the rapid loss of affordable housing throughout NYC.
“Where are we supposed to go? Where is the housing for us? All I see in our neighborhood is new high rise, luxury condos being built. My building has lost nearly 1/3 of the rent stabilized apartments and more are being pressured to leave. Where can we live?” asked Linda Foster, a resident of 43 years at 266 Washington Avenue in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.
Tenants spoke about their landlord in particular, Dermot, and the harassment they’ve experienced, lack of repairs, poor communication with management and pressure to vacate their rent stabilized apartments.
“The apartments where older tenants live are not being maintained well. The repairs are unprofessional and messy,” said Michael Melville a 17 year resident of 260 St. James Place.
Tenants also spoke to the larger political climate that has affected, and basically created these unfortunate situations.
“This is a human rights issue. It’s not just about tenants in our building, in buildings owned by Dermot - it’s about people losing their homes, where they’ve lived all their lives. It’s not just an apartment to us, it’s our home; it’s our community. Why are they taking away our home for their own greed,” said Kim Longsworth, a 36 year resident of 266 Washington Avenue. “We need a mayor who will take the needs of all New Yorkers into account.”
“A number of the tenants concerns could be resolved if the management would agree to meet with the tenants,” said Jon Furlong, a Community Organizer at Pratt Area Community Council. “But, Dermot even refused City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s request for a meeting. They view people’s homes as a money making investment and have no regard for tenants’ rights. This is another sad example of corporate greed.”
Dermot purchased a number of rent stabilized buildings in Central Brooklyn over the past three years at prices way above the previous sale price. They have explicitly told tenants they want to make a profit on the building. Dermot is only one of a number of predatory equity landlords that have purchased rent regulated buildings at high purchase prices and then tried to aggressively raise rents by pushing out tenants.
“Since Dermot has taken over management of apartment buildings in my district, my office has learned about a series of transgressions on their part. Tenants have expressed that they feel Dermot plans to rid their buildings of rent stabilized apartments. Dermot has failed to communicate their intent to ensure that their tenants remain in place,” said Council Member James. “I am also holding Dermot responsible and accountable for completing all repairs in their buildings, and for providing quality housing, period,” she said.
1: Tenant Kim Longsworth shares her story of harassment since management of her building was taken over by the Dermot company.
2: The Dermot company, owners the building where Joe Pressley resides (center); he says Dermot is not completing necessary repairs since purchasing the property.
3. Council Member James vows to keep fighting for affordable housing on behalf tenants residing in the 35th Council District.