Residents of the Greenpoint Hotel are fed up with their landlord and want him fined and arrested. Tenants rallied Wednesday outside the Brooklyn Housing Court to demand a safer living environment.
The Greenpoint Hotel, an adjoined set of single-room-occupancy (SRO) buildings located at 1109 Manhattan Avenue and 66 Clay Street, is infamous for its uninhabitable conditions. Two-thirds of the bathrooms aren’t functional, ceilings crumble and leak, and tenants have been living without hot water for six weeks. Rodents and bedbugs have even plagued the hotel. The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has given the hotel more than 460 building code violations.
“You talk to the landlord and he’ll give you the runaround. The place is deteriorating and he lets it go like that,” said Victor Collazo, a disabled veteran and 11 year tenant.
Tenants first brought a court case against landlord, Jay Deutchman, in February of this year. By April the court ordered him to make necessary repairs and fix building conditions. Depending on the severity of the violation, he had a prescribed number of days to complete the repairs.
Deutchman has yet to make the major changes and conditions in the hotel have worsened. Many claimed the landlord has refused to cooperate with the court’s decision in an attempt to drive tenants out of the building.
“This landlord is not just unwilling to make repairs, he is consciously allowing for conditions to worsen in the building,” said Matthew Main of MFY Legal Services, a non-profit legal services law firm representing the tenants. “It is precisely this willful defiance for the court order and the tenants dignity, security, safety and civil rights that we are all here today once again.”
Community organizations St. Nicks Alliance and North Brooklyn Development Corporation, along with Councilmember Steve Levin, are also assisting the tenants, and were out rallying with them on the corner of Livingston and Jay Streets in downtown Brooklyn.
Tenants filed a motion for contempt, asking the court to reopen the case, and asking to fine or imprison Deutchman for his failure to follow the court order.
“No one should have to live like this. Nothing is being done, so I guess it’s jail time for Jay,” said resident Erick Hargraves.