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Lafayette Estates residents in Soundview demand management make repairs

Residents at Soundview’s Lafayette Estates demand repairs

Bronx Times

Here’s one politician who knowns whereof he speaks.

Soundview state Assemblyman Marcos Crespo is joining with tenants at the Lafayette Estates complex to call on the state to demand management make necessary repairs and halt what they charge is illegal activity.

And Crespo is speaking out both as the local elected leader and himself and his family as among the tenants in the 1,865 apartments there.

“As both the Assembly representative and a tenant at Lafayette Morrison, I’ve witnessed the decline in services and quality of life that our community took great pride in and enjoyed,” said Crespo. “This management group has failed to communicate with residents, ignored calls for recommendations, and fired long-serving maintenance staff without a plan to continue services.”

Complaint to state

With some legal help, tenants on Monday filed a reduction in services complaint with the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal against the property’s management company, E&M Management, for its failure to address maintenance needs and security concerns.

Attorneys from the Urban Justice Center’s Community Development Project, along with the Bronx’s Mothers on the Move, are representing the tenants and also sent a letter to E&M Management demanding the company make necessary repairs to the buildings and stop its illegal activities. The management company has been handling the property for less than two years.

The complex of eight 19-story buildings sits on 31 acres beside Soundview Park, near the Bruckner Expressway and the Bronx River Parkway. It was built under the state’s Mitchell-Lama program as subsidized housing for moderate-income New Yorkers, but fell into disrepair. It was partially converted to co-ops in 2006, with its in-place tenants offered 25% discounts on the purchase price of their apartments.

Unlawful actions

Since 2013, over 103 tenants have complained to the management about unlawful actions including:

•Preventing tenants from talking to other tenants in building lobby or handing out free energy efficient light bulbs.

•Failure to provide tenants with fully executed leases after the tenants sign their lease and send them back.

•Failure to provide tenants with rent receipts.

• Refusing to provide the tenant association with a list of all the tenants in the building, which the prior owner did for years.

The residents said they have also been living with hazardous conditions including broken elevators, locks, and buzzers; rodents; cracked sidewalks; garbage in the basement and hallways; inadequate lighting; and no visible inspection cards.

“For over a year, the management of Lafayette Estates has refused to address tenants’ concerns about their unlawful activities and failure to make repairs. We expect that in two weeks these issues will be resolved or further action will be taken,” said Harvey Epstein, Director of the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center.

Reach Editor Bob Kappstatter at (718) 742–3395. E-mail him at bkappstatter@cnglocal.com.

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