CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn (PIX11) — The mold has become unbearable in the Crown Heights apartment of Mina Opont and Pradine Saint-Fort, a mother and daughter who have lived in the neighborhood for decades.
Opont moved into the unit at 1114 Park Place in 1975. They say mold first became an issue in 2006.
“It’s frustrating,” Saint-Fort said. “It’s disgusting.”
They’ve submitted violations through the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) for years, but Saint-Fort and Opont claim that despite HPD issuing those violations, the landlord has been giving them the runaround with incomplete jobs.
“In November they just had someone go under the sink and literally just paint the mold that he could see and he left,” Saint-Fort said.
Unable to handle the situation on their own, they reached out to New York State Sen. Zellnor Myrie’s office for help.
“No New Yorker should live in the conditions that are in this apartment: mold everywhere, disrepair everywhere, the tenants’ belongings in the hallways,” Myrie said.
Saint-Fort said her belongings are in the hallways because the landlord gave her short notice to move them so work could begin again. She said the people now working on her apartment have covered all items inside with plastic and the plaster has been smashed off the walls.
Saint-Fort and her mom have been spending their own money to temporarily live in hotels and Airbnb rentals.
“This is an attempt to get a rent-stabilized tenant out so you can get a market-rate tenant in,” Myrie claimed. “Period.”
HPD confirmed the agency has been in touch with the tenants. A spokesperson told PIX11 news in a statement:
“HPD takes all housing maintenance issues very seriously as we work to hold owners accountable to correcting conditions using safe work practices. We will be reinspecting the apartment to ensure all safety standards are being upheld, and work to assess any other outstanding complaints.”
The building manager did not want to speak to PIX11 News and refused to give the contact information for the landlord.
Saint-Fort has become her mother’s caregiver and their situation is added stress to an already stressful position.
“I’m running back and forth to get things that I forgot, running back and forth to get her insulin needles,” Saint-Fort said. “Her medicine came in the mail and I had to schedule a time to go and get her high blood pressure medication, so I could run it back.”
Myrie said he is considering legislative solutions in these types of situations to speed up repairs and to require HPD to complete the repairs if the landlord does not.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Saint-Fort. The story has been updated.