The city placed a full vacate order on the building, and ordered their landlord, Joel Fried, to make the necessary repairs to lift the order.
But according to housing activists supporting the tenants, the landlord has refused to make the appropriate fixes, leaving the residents in limbo.
“I feel homesick,” said Gysell Gordillo, 17, whose family has lived in a Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) shelter in Harlem for the past year. “I just want them to fix the house so I can go home.”
Raul Lopez, a 41-year resident 374 Wallabout Street, said he fears the building will never be repaired because of the landlord’s “history of harassment.”
“He’s showed us with his actions that he doesn’t want us there,” Lopez said.
Earlier this year, the rent-stabilized tenants, along with housing organizers from Los Sures and representation from the legal group Communities Resist, filed an application for a court-appointed 7A administrator.
If granted in housing court, the third-party administrator would make the repairs and manage the building in place of the landlord.
Last Tuesday, the tenants and their supporters rallied outside housing court in Downtown Brooklyn to demand that HPD support their case, and ultimately, allow for the residents to return to their home.
They later hosted another rally in front of 374 Wallabout Street on October 1.
“They’ve fought too hard and too long for the city to turn its back now,” said Adam Meyers, the tenants’ attorney. “They deserve to go home.”
An HPD spokesperson responded that while tenants can seek a 7A administrator, the agency must evaluate whether it will be “the most effective and efficient recourse for tenants.”
“In order to make this determination, we need to be able to fully inspect conditions at the building, which we have not been able to do at this property due to lack of access,” the spokesperson said. “In the meantime, we’ve filed a comprehensive case in housing court and will continue to do everything within our power to hold this landlord accountable.”