Our clients are all long-term and low-income tenants of color in this rent stabilized building, many seniors or families with small children. We have represented them for over two years. Their landlord had illegally tampered with the gas lines and shut off their services. With over 273 violations in the building, they had no heat, no hot water or cooking gas. These are tactics that slumlords use to get tenants out of their buildings. The tenants organized and formed their tenant association and decided to go on a rent strike, which lasted two years. They sued their landlord to protect their rights and get their services back. While we fought in court, bringing a slew of cases, the tenants remained united and unwavering in this fight, no matter how unbearable the conditions were. On top of all that was happening in the building, ACS was even called on one of our clients, and we had to help the family with this immensely cruel situation, including language barriers that exacerbated the injustice.
After months of struggle, however, we all forced the landlord to repair the gas lines, turn back on the heat and hot water, make repairs to all the apartments, and provide renewal rent stabilized leases to all the tenants as well as significant abatements from the rent strike.