PRESS CONFERENCE & PROTEST OUTSIDE THE DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS
TO DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITY & AN END TO ANTI-TENANT BIAS
Mayor de Blasio + Commissioner Chandler stop giving us lip service when we need actual help preserving affordable housing for livework tenants and all tenants.
NYC Loft Tenants in collaboration with Assembly Member Maritza Davila and co-sponsored by Dumbo Neighborhood Alliance is holding a protest and press conference on Friday, April 27,at 1:00pm on the street at 280 Broadway, Manhattan outside the Department of Buildings. Speakers will include Assembly Member Joe Lentol, Assembly Member Felix Ortiz, Council Member Steve Levin, NYCLT activists and tenants from 83-85 Bowery.
NYCLT will be protesting in solidarity with the tenants of 83-85 Bowery who are protesting today, Thursday, April 26th. The fact that there are spontaneous rolling protests of the Department of Buildings is alarming. Mayor de Blasio claims to support tenants. Why is the Mayor not demanding the DOB and the NYC Loft Board get with the program?
The role of the NYC Department of Buildings in the affordability crisis is gravely underestimated and has gone unreported. NYC Loft Tenants is calling this Protest/Press Conference to shine a light on DOB negligence, anti-tenant bias and outright malfeasance as the DOB and its sub-agency the NYC Loft Board routinely take action to push people from their homes, aiding and abetting greedy real estate interests in emptying buildings. It smells like collusion to us!
Cases in point:
- 255 18th St., Brooklyn – Commissioner Rick Chandler has consistently ignored tenants when illegitimately obtained Certificates of Occupancy were brought to the Agency’s attention. Only after tenants threatened to file a lawsuit against the City did the DOB lift a finger to revoke the CofO. 255 18th Street represents just one of several cases where fraudulent and/or illegal Certificates of Occupancy were issued by the DoB for Loft buildings, that the DoB has refused to acknowledge obliging tenants to sue.
Tenants should not be forced to sue the City to get the DOB to do its job!
- 79 Lorimer St., Brooklyn – the DOB allowed the landlord to remove the sprinkler system so that they could vacate the building. The tenants were locked out for over 3 years. City officials took no action whatsoever when the landlord, in an effort to drive the tenants out, proceeded to vandalize the tenant’s property by destroying all the bathrooms and purposely leaving windows open for years so that hundreds of pigeons infested the building, covering everything with toxic bird feces –– including expensive carpentry, electronics and music equipment that were essential to the tenant’s businesses.
- 58 Grand St , 79 Lorimer, 475 Kent Ave (to name just a few) – The staff of the NYC Loft Board have recommended to deny tenants protection numerous times, including reversing thirty years of precedents.
DOB + Loft Board strategies used to push out tenants:
- The DOB continues to use NYC building code to render livework spaces illegal and does not enforce the law against bad actor landlords.
- In a flagrant disregard for tenant rights DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler has refused to staff the Tenant Advocate’s office.
- The NYC Loft Board Staff undermines the remedial nature of the Loft Law with ongoing anti-tenant bias, citing absurd technicalities to vote against tenant protections and making a habit of overturning precedents set by OATH judges, negating the remedial intent of the Loft Law by rejecting pro-tenant recommendations from OATH.
“As we work toward a solution for loft tenants, all parties need to understand that we are talking about New Yorker’s homes. For tens of thousands of people, an affordable, safe, and harassment-free place to live is not a guarantee. The work to remedy this is nonstop. The tactics of some of these bad actors to force people out never ceases to surprise me. Few would argue that the system is working for tenants. We need to make changes. Even with laws on the books, many that I have helped to get passed, somehow injustices continue. This is why I stand with livework tenants. For decades I’ve watched these people make from nothing, something that truly enriches our city and communities, whether through their work or workspace. It is wrong to let these livework tenants be forced out when we’re so close to a solution,”
– Senator Martin Malavé Dilan.
NYCLT is demanding the Mayor take immediate action to right the ship at the DOB and the Loft Board.
Enough is Enough!