- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Tenants in Rundown Creston Ave. Building Demand Action | Bronx News Networkbronx

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tenants in Rundown Creston Ave. Building Demand Action

VIDEO: Standing in her living room, Vanessa Santiago describes conditions inside her apartment

Last night, Creston Avenue resident Vanessa Santiago fought back tears as she spoke to reporters and local politicians about the litany of problems inside her basement apartment.

When it rains, she said, water seeps under her front door and into the living room, meaning she can't have furniture. There are holes in the walls and ceilings, she continued, and mice, cockroaches and other bugs are a common sight for her, her husband, and her five kids. Her toilet doesn't work properly, neither do the faucets in the bathroom sink, and most of the electrical sockets in the two-bedroom apartment are broken. The list goes on.
"My kids cannot keep living like this," Santiago sobbed.

Making matters worse, her apartment - and the 32 other units in the building - have been without cooking gas since June.

Tenants recently began meeting with organizers from the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition. Last night, tenants and organizers hung banners ("SAVE OUR HOMES" "OUR CHILDREN ARE SICK" "HPD WHERE R U?) from the fire escapes, and held a press conference to bring attention to their plight.

Last night's press conference. The landlord had the banners torn down this morning, tenants activists said. (Photo by Alma Watkins)

The building, at 2229 Creston Ave. in South Fordham, has 270 housing violations, an exorbitant number for its size. 

Tenants say the landlord, Treetop Management, a real estate company in New Jersey which uses the name 2229 Creston Partners LLC for the Creston building, has consistently failed to maintain the apartments, and that HPD is also at fault.  According to NY1, HPD recently made $30,000 worth of emergency repairs - but you wouldn't know it.

Maria Ramos, a first floor tenant, has a huge hole in her kitchen ceiling, after workmen visited in June to inspect the apartment's gas fixtures. Problem is, they never returned to repair it, and now rats are sneaking in.  In her living room a plastic tub collects murky water dripping from another hole in the ceiling, where a lightbulb would normally be. In her bathroom the toilet no longer flushes.

"We're human beings, not animals," Ramos said.

After touring several apartments, Assemblyman Nelson Castro described the conditions as "really horrible."  The building "needs to be repaired ASAP," he said. 

Castro said his office has reached out to HPD and has tried, without success, to contact the landlord.  (We, also, were unable to immediately reach the landlord.)

As they continue to wait for repairs, tenants are considering their next steps.  If help doesn't come soon, Santiago said, she and her family are heading to a homeless shelter.

Other tenants are considering a rent strike, a tenant organizer said.

VIDEO: Jose Santiago, Vanessa's husband, in the family's bathroom


  1. $30,000 in Emergency Repair Program work is not significant enough to make even a small dent in a building in this poor condition. Even $30,000 per unit would not be enough.

    If the tenants are not getting through to the landlord, they also need to go after the bank that holds the mortgage on the property -- in this case it is Sovereign Bank. Sovereign is in the position to tell the owner they must make repairs or be foreclosed on for not keeping the building in good repair.

    If Sovereign provided the financing for this property, they also can (and should) be held accountable for its conditions.

  2. As always I can count on BNN to give us the real deal on the life in the bronx. this was so sad to see having lost my apartment last year for a few reasons, the main one was landlord abandonment. it is horrid to see latinos with children living in these conditions. as a result I had to repost the video of the hazardous conditions on facebook, with of course the Underlyning facts, that the criminal legislators are just as guilty as the landords, for allowing this and not prosecuting these monsters. thank you and keep up the good work. BNN rocks!

  3. vanessa santiago is a liying about her apartment condition its always been drity just like it look.

  4. so much that u know vanessa did not have her apt in that condition at all they never fix or anything and dont matter how many times you clean the apt when it rains and leaks the sealling kallaps and the house always get mest up and it looks that way trust i witness it plenty of times yours truely anonymous


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