It's a drag.
Some folks find a way to get organized and those folks are usually the ones most successful in dealing with slumlords be they in huge cities or small college towns.
One such organization is the Shalom Tenants Alliance. The Alliance came together in earnest in July 2003 with the launch of a website which has helped put numerous tenants in touch with the Alliance and helped Shalom tenants realize they were not alone.
The alliance is a coalition of residents of more than 90 different New York City apartment buildings owned and/or managed by the Shalom family, a.k.a. Ohebshalom, which includes Jon Shalom, Ben Shalom, Fred Ohebshalom, David Ohebshalom, Nader Ohebshalom and others. Operating under various corporate names, including Sky Management, Empire Management, Gatsby and Keystone, the Shaloms buy rent-stabilized buildings and then systematically dismantle required building services (Warranty of Habitability) and attempt to force out legal residents through harassment, intimidation, negligence and deception.
Today Shalom tenants took to the street in support of one of their own. A tenant of 244 West 72 Street came home one day recently and found his possessions tossed out by management and his four cats missing a week before the expiration of his lease.
You ask yourself how can this happen?
It happens because it is allowed to happen.
It happens because in our land private property is more important than human beings.
Slumlords don't give in easily. They fight often harder than we do.
We turn again to the family Shalom.
Jon and Ben Shalom of Sky Management (so many companies, so many names) decided to get revenge on their tenants who had just won lawsuit against them. Eight Saint Mark’s Place Tenants Association tells the story:
On Saturday, November 3, 2007, the New York Fire Department (FDNY) answered a 9-1-1 emergency call from 8 Saint Mark’s Place in the East Village.
The caller alleged that boiler exhaust fumes were entering the apartment. First fumes were noticed on Friday, November 2, 2007. On Saturday the condition worsened and one tenant who began suffering from headaches and nausea called the management company and the building super who were both unresponsive. The tenant then proceeded to call 9-1-1.
It was discovered that on Wednesday, October 31, 2007, the owners Jon and Ben Shalom of Sky Management had hired a roofing company to cap all eight chimneys in the building, including one active chimney functioning as the boiler’s ventilation system.
People could have died here. What did the fire department do? After removing the cap, they let them off the hook with just another violation order.
Now the talk in ye olde Democratic debate about Obama and a Chicago slumlord is all fine and dandy. But what the talk needs to be about is doing something to protect tenants and whole neighborhoods from them. Slumlords are vile criminals whose only aim is greed. They should be treated as such.
I ran across a petition out in California put together by a guy who had had enough. I liked some of his proposals which included:
"...instead of extremely low fines such as a $49.00 dollar fine for not complying with the law for a year that a fine of $50,000.00 and five years in prison for allowing health and safety conditions to lapse what so ever! To hold the Slum Lord fully accountable for all and any sicknesses or illnesses related from asbestos problems to unsanitary conditions inside their buildings besides the fines and jail sentences..."
...take away fully a Slum Lord's right to buy and sell or manage property under any and all conditions after they prove that case after case or call after call they will not abide by the rules. Their DRE or (Department of Real Estate Licenses) be revoked, their business licenses revoked under any hidden LLC or business name..."
...a fine is based on each apartment unit complaining that is each person has a right to withhold rent, sue, and collect for emotional distress, illness related to apartment negligence, and a right to press criminal charges against the owner/Slum Lord or manager responsible for the property based on uninhabitable conditions and breach of leasing agreements or violating Fire Dept., Housing Authority laws, and Health Dept. rules..."
...in the case of death or illness connected with Slum Lord abuses, negligence, terror and scare tacticts that the Slum Lord is charged with murder, mayhem, assault, and manslaughter of their victims with the full jail sentence, fines..."
Maybe the guy who put this petition together can slip into tonight’s debate and bring all this up.
Let the candidates deal with some real everyday issues and give real specific solutions.
Never gonna happen.
The following is from MyFoxNY.com (New York City).
Protest Against 'Abusive' Landlord
Shalom Organization Accused of Illegal Evictions
Tenants of the Shalom Organization on Thursday protested their landlord's allegedly abusive and vicious behavior.
During a rally on the Upper West Side, the tenants called on the Manhattan District Attorney's office to prosecute.
The protest was in front of 244 West 72nd Street. One of that building's tenants said management threw away all his possessions and planned to euthanized his four cats. This, he said, happened one week before he was set to move out.
The tenant also said he paid his rent.
The Shalom Organization owns 130 buildings across New York City.