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Morris Houses Residents Dispute NYCHA's Claim of Completed Repairs

By Eddie Small | July 31, 2015 8:18am | Updated on August 2, 2015 11:02pm
 Tenants of Morris Houses are disputing NYCHA's claim that the agency has finished making some long-promised repairs to their apartments.
Tenants of Morris Houses are disputing NYCHA's claim that the agency has finished making some long-promised repairs to their apartments.
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DNAinfo/Eddie Small

CLAREMONT — NYCHA and a group of Morris Houses tenants remain at odds over whether the agency has completed making long-promised repairs to their apartments.

The residents made their first housing court appearance in September in a lawsuit that would force NYCHA to make several repairs to their apartments, including fixing issues they had with broken door locks, rotting furniture, rats and roaches.

The agency reached settlements with all of the tenants by early November, and in each instance, it agreed to make the repairs within 90 days.

But several of the repairs were still not completed months later, according to Urban Justice Center Senior Staff Attorney Garrett Wright, so tenants filed a contempt of court motion against NYCHA in May.

NYCHA maintained that they could complete the remaining repairs within 30 days of their mid-May court appearance and are now claiming that they have finished all of them, according to Wright.

However, some tenants beg to differ.

They still have a lengthy list of problems that they maintain NYCHA has not fixed, which includes a cracked hallway ceiling, broken floor tiles and broken windows.

"The main thing is just trying to make sure all the repairs are done," Wright said. "We just need to confirm the status of that."

The case was adjourned until Sept. 17 following a court appearance on Thursday so that Wright can have more time to verify with his clients about whether or not NYCHA has actually made all of the repairs it needs to, he said.

Wright is also still attempting to settle the contempt motion with NYCHA and hopes to get some rent relief for his clients, but he said a settlement cannot happen until he is sure all of the repairs are done.

"We think the tenants are entitled to some compensation, typically in the form of a rent abatement, because of NYCHA's failure to do the work under the agreement," he said.

The superintendent of Morris Houses made visits to several apartments this week where tenants had claimed that their work was not completed, and many said they were satisfied with the repairs that had been done, according to NYCHA.

"NYCHA has worked diligently to address the concerns of these residents and will continue to do so,” a spokeswoman said.

Although Morris Houses tenant Julia Saravia said that the problems in her apartment had been fixed, she remained upset about how long this process had taken.

"In our house, everything is fine," she said, speaking through a translator, "but it still took them a while."