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Harlem Tenants Challenge Evictions

Thursday, May 07, 2009

A group of immigrant tenants say their landlord is trying to illegally evict them from two buildings in East Harlem. A letter to tenants says the buildings must be renovated and the city won't allow work to be done unless they're empty. The tenants acknowledge the building is in poor condition, but say they should not have to leave. Juan Haro from Movement for Justice, has been organizing tenants and says the landlord wants to empty the building, renovate it, and attract tenants who pay higher rents.

HARO: Tenants here have made numerous attempts to have a dialogue with the landlord and his response has been continued threats, continued intimidation, harassment.

The city's Department of Buildings says no vacate orders have been issued for the buildings. And according to the housing department, there are strict proceedings for evicting tenants. Building manager, Joseph Chakkalo, refused to comment and his attorney did not return a call seeking comment. About 30 tenants live in the buildings.

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