Homeowners and tenants seek justice

On Saturday, Feb. 18, homeowners and tenants, along with various civic leaders, gathered in a basement forum at Andrews United Methodist Church to discuss the on-going problem of poorly constructed homes.

With no end in sight, those in attendance reeled off numerous problems with roofing, electrical, plumbing, flooding and a lack of insulation in homes purchased through the City of New York’s housing programs.

The 91 Richmond Street location drew 48 attendees although it was only the second meeting of its kind held with a sole purpose. In what is slated to become an ongoing dialogue between homeowners, tenants and the affiliated builders utilized by New York City’s Department of Housing and Preservation Development, many of those in attendance recited instances of extreme problems within homes they thought represented the American dream.

Citing long standing frustration and a severe lack of response by both the City and hired sub-contractors who performed various work on each construction project, the homeowners relayed many problems ranging from leaking roofs, faulty plumbing, flooding basements, non-existent insulation and electrical inadequacies.

In many cases, although they were able to contact the sub-contractors who performed the work, there still has not been an adequate response to the complaints. Frustrations ran high as those at the meeting reported nightmare-like defects within the homes, which were discovered very quickly after purchasing and moving into these newly constructed multi-family dwellings.

One home owner in attendance reported that his roof, which supposedly carried a 10-year warranty, began leaking almost immediately after the family moved into the home. “And when I spoke with the roofing company, they could not tell me when the warranty started, or when it was up,” he stated with a high degree of frustration.

Among the sub-contractors hired by the City to perform the necessary construction tasks, Jackson Development, Trans Corp Construction and American Dream Construction were all named as firms participating in projects which seem to have provided substandard work.

The low to moderate income homes range from two to three family units and are located in neighborhoods throughout both Brooklyn and the Bronx.

One of the on the most frustrating problems seems to be the lack of insulation, which is being reported in many of the communities which then results in inordinately high utility bills as homeowners struggle to heat their homes. Thankfully, this winter season has actually been unseasonably warm.

In one instance, after a KeySpan energy audit, the homeowner was informed that faulty construction and inadequate insulation were the primary causative agents contributing to the high monthly bills being received by the homeowner. “They gave me an estimate for close to $4,000 to rectify the situation,” stated Mr. Merciful who also had a price quote in hand.

A press conference is scheduled for Feb. 29 to discuss how local banks and the Community Reinvestment Act can partner with the newly formed community agencies now looking into these allegations.

On March 1, there will be a Town Hall meeting held at Intermediate School 171 (528 Ridgewood Avenue) at 6:00 p.m. in Cypress Hills to address these issues as well.

For additional information on either of the above referenced meetings, please call the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation at 718 647 8100 or contactJustice For Homeowners at www.Justice4Homeowners.org with an email address of [email protected]

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