NYCHA residents in Queens sue NYC to force repairs as lead, mold issues persist


LONG ISLAND CITY, Queens — NYCHA tenants in Queens filed a lawsuit against the City of New York Tuesday morning, demanding repairs for what they called years of neglect as well as a failure to remove lead paint and mold, and clean during the pandemic.  

A handful of community groups and 11 Queensbridge Houses residents joined together to file the lawsuit against the city and NYCHA.  They hope by coming together in court, they can finally put pressure on the city to take action.

Catherine Bladykas, one of the Queensbridge residents who joined the lawsuit, said she’s been battling NYCHA for repairs for more than a year. 

“I think NYCHA will only be held accountable if a judge says something,” she said.

The tenants’ attorney, Robert Sanderman, said there is strength in numbers when it comes to litigation.

“They sue NYCHA on their own. They file tickets. They wait months. So these tenants finally filed a HP action,” said Sanderman.  

The complaint, filed in housing court in Queens, alleges harassment and failure to make repairs and clean up mold, asbestos, and lead.  

“They have had lead and mold in their home for years. We also want [Department of Housing Preservation and Development] to investigate in addition to this complaint,” said Sanderman. 

If they win, Sanderman said NYCHA would be forced to make the repairs in the homes of the 11 tenants in the complaint, but several community leaders and tenant advocates said it would also send a strong message to other NYCHA tenants. 

Meanwhile, residents like Latisha Lambert, who lives at the Queensbridge Houses but is not part of the lawsuit, hopes it creates system-wide change. 

“I think they should be held accountable,” said Lambert. 

A NYCHA spokesperson told PIX11 on Tuesday they would not comment on the lawsuit.

“NYCHA has not yet been served with this lawsuit and the authority does not comment on pending litigation,” the spokesperson said.

A Queens housing court judge will review the lawsuit and could schedule a court date within the next few weeks, according to Sanderman. 

In the meantime, Queens Legal Services said they are working on filing similar lawsuits in several other NYCHA developments in the borough.

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