The comment in question from my last post:
“i have been a tnt of for many years and have seen many landlords come and gone. so were very good others not the best but none perfect. I am glad to live in an urban building they may not be the best or always sunnyshine to speak to but who is. can you imagine dealing with so many people in one day. the problem today is that as tenants we believe we deserve all that we ask for and in reality we should but in that case we can buy our own homes and live in luxury. what has this world come to when we are complaining about rent receipts and washing machines. do you this is the first landlord to send us rent receipts. there are bigger problems in the world like not having jobs or food to eat and most important health. please take a look at your complaints and make more use of your time like helping those in need.”
This person apparently thinks that Urban American’s tenants, the majority of whom are low-income, can afford to buy their own homes in New York City – and live in luxury, for that matter. This is absolutely ridiculous, considering housing prices in NYC are the some of the costliest in the U.S.; even basic 2 bedroom homes in the outer boroughs start at $500,000. In Manhattan, that same amount of money will get you a studio apartment. Don’t believe me? Check local real estate listings. Are you going to tell Urban American tenants like Myra Santana and James Outlaw that they can just magically afford to go buy their own properties for this amount of money?
Regardless, this commenter apparently does not think that the issues faced by Urban American tenants are real problems worth dedicating my time and energy to. Yes, this is NYC, and not Somalia. I’m sure we’re all quite thankful for the blessings and privileges that we have in our lives. However, the issues listed below are still worth acknowledging and fighting. It’s not a game of suffering Olympics, and it’s possible to care about multiple issues in the world at once.
Let’s break it down:
- Lack of heat in the dead of winter is a real problem. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Lack of hot water in winter is a real problem. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
- Having your management company fail to fix your toilet for a month, and having no choice but to defecate in a plastic bag is a real problem.
- Several months of toxic black mold in every room (which causes multiple respiratory illnesses) is a real and illegal problem that I personally dealt with, as did the tenants in these links. (1, 2)
- Lack of pest control, and keeping buildings overrun with mice, bedbugs, and roaches, is a real problem. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Not to mention hallways that reek of urine.
- Tenant harassment is a real problem. (1, 2)
- Raising rents from $897 to $2,300 with no prior notice is a real problem for the working-class families that make up the vast majority of Harlem residents. With these rents, how can Harlem residents afford food, health care, and so on?
- Buying buildings that were homes to low-income tenants under the Section 8 and Mitchell Lama assistance programs and then working to evict them or force them out is a real problem. (1,2, 3)
- Charging $400-$1000 per month in electric bills to low income tenants is a real problem.
- Predatory investing, altogether, is a real problem.
And it’s not a problem that I’m disgusted and outraged by all of this.