HIGHBRIDGE, the Bronx — Tenants in six buildings in the Highbridge section of the Bronx are pushing back against their landlord, telling PIX11 Emerald Equity Group applied with the State’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal to de-regulate their rent stabilized apartments.
Resident Julius P. Bennett explained there is no room in his monthly budget to pay more in rent, “So it becomes a big problem.”
Thursday the tenants rallied with Community Action for Safe Apartments.
Bronx Legal Services is also working on their behalf to challenge Emerald Equity Group.
“They claim that the apartments are no longer rent stabilized because they’ve been substantially rehabilitated, however there’s very little evidence they provided showing what kind of work was done,” Bronx Legal Services Attorney Ezi Ukegbu said.
Jenn Llanos, who lives on Anderson Avenue, said her repair requests have been ignored by the Emerald Equity Group for three years, and her building is overwhelmed by rats.
“I boil fabric softener because the smell of the rats is just immense,” she said.
Emerald Equity Group is represented by Manhattan law firm Kucker Marino Winiarsky & Bittens, LLP. Partner James R. Marino told PIX11 in a statement:
The Owner is committed to responding fully and completely to all repair requests, by communicating with Tenants for access and repair dates, and effectuating all needed repairs in a timely manner…None of the current tenants will lose their rent stabilized status if the Owner’s application is granted by DHCR. Any finding of exemption from rent stabilization will only affect tenancies that commence after the expiration of tax benefits in 2026.
Bronx Legal Services disputes that claim, telling PIX11 the current tenants are at risk of losing their rent stabilized status.