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These are real – and illegal – problems.

27 Jul

The mold that was on every window in my apartment, and that had taken over the inside of an entire closet for several months.

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:

And it’s not a problem that I’m disgusted and outraged by all of this.

Fan Mail

25 Jul

On July 23rd, C wrote:

“Came upon your blog while searching for Urban American’s phone number, since the laundry in our building at 106 Fort Washington Ave in Manhattan (Urban American-owned as of about 11/10) has essentially been out of service for the past four months. It began with one of the 70-unit building’s whopping TWO dryers breaking down, at which no repairs were even so much as hinted. This was quickly followed by one of the building’s 3 washers shutting down, and it’s now been full of stagnant, fetid water for the past three months. Today we ventured down into the filthy depths of the basement (dotted, of course, with the corpses of many fallen cockroaches) only to find that the 2nd dryer has now malfunctioned, leaving a grand total of TWO washers and ZERO dryers at the tenants’ disposal. This phenomenon of unfixed laundry goes nicely with the scrambling of mice throughout our apartment and those wonderful winter mornings we spent shivering through 60 degree showers.Anyhow, just wanted to say I love the blog, and also let you know that our address is now a member of the Urban American Army. When I saw what you’ve been keeping, I was inspired to consider printing up flyers to post all over the building, to keep all of my fellow tenants informed as to how awful Urban American truly is. Keep up the good work!
Thanks for the story, C. I’ll be adding 106 Fort Washington Avenue (52 open violations!) to the list of Urban American Management owned buildings. In the meantime, here’s what you can do if you’re trapped in an Urban American building. Good luck.

Your help is appreciated!

7 Jul
How to Become a Landlord - From ToothpasteForDinner.com

Appropriate comic from Toothpaste for Dinner, click to enlarge.

We’re up to nearly 1,200 page views!

Now that the site has started to gain traction in Google results, I’ve been getting some interesting emails – for example, an employee from State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.’s office wanted to discuss the conditions Urban American buildings in the Bronx. I wonder which other local politicians may be interested in getting involved in the fight against predatory equity? Will NYC’s “worst landlord” watchlist be updated to truly hold Urban American accountable for all of its buildings and violations?

In the meantime, if you have any stories to share about Urban American, please feel free to email them to nyctenantadvocate@yahoo.com, or leave them as comments on this site’s various posts and pages. You don’t have to be Ernest Hemingway, and I promise to keep you fully anonymous. Write however you please, and say whatever you want. The more real-life accounts of how Urban American treats its tenants, the better! News articles and any other bits of information are also appreciated, of course.