SOUTH BRONX — Residents from more than 10 buildings operated by the man who tops the city's list of worst landlords have banded together to form a tenant coalition to fight for repairs and improvements to their apartments.
"They pay their rent, and they are entitled to services and to live in conditions that unfortunately do not threaten their safety and their life," James said at a Thursday morning rally in support of the coalition outside of Bronx Housing Court. "Tenants demand action from Ved Parkash."
Residents brought up issues including broken floors and lack of hot water and said that Parkash is unresponsive when they try to get in touch with them.
"I have not had hot water all winter long," said tenant Brigida Velenzuela. "I have to boil it every single day."
"We have termites," she said. "Our floors are not repaired, and he had the audacity to send a letter that he repaired them, and there have not been any repairs, and we have had enough."
The tenants outlined their main concerns in a letter to Parkash, demanding real repairs in their buildings, better relationships between tenants and employees, less aggressive legal strategies and improved security.
"In some of your buildings, the front doors do not lock, allowing anyone to come in off the street," according to the letter. "In some cases, we have had non-residents sleeping in the hallways. In others, people are walking in, having parties, and doing and selling drugs."
The group requested a written response from Parkash by June 22 and demands a meeting with him to address these concerns.
Tenants and elected officials said they attempted to give the letter to Parkash's lawyer Jason Blau in Bronx Housing Court, but he declined to take it.
Councilman Rafael Salamanca, who attended the rally, pledged to try getting the city to take away 750 Grand Concourse from Parkash and take over management and repairs itself.
750 Grand Concourse is one of the “dirty dozen” buildings where James and Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced the city would stop paying rent for tenants on public assistance unless landlords fixed their building code violations.
This is not the first time Parkash had faced resistance from his tenants, as residents of 1530 Sheridan Ave. just took him to court on May 26 over issues with their apartments including bedbugs and broken locks.
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development filed a comprehensive case against 1530 Sheridan Ave. as well seeking civil penalties and an order to correct all of its violations, according to the agency.
Parkash's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Although Parkash has already faced plenty of pushback and resistance from tenants over the condition of his buildings, they are hopeful that by joining forces, they will become that much harder to ignore.
"By standing together, we can fix these problems," said tenant Esperanza Rincon, speaking through a translator. "We can get our repairs united."