Our client in this 42-unit building is a 71-year-old Korean American immigrant, limited English speaking senior who has lived in his apartment in Flushing, Queens for the past 12 years with dangerous repair issues including rats, roaches, cracked ceilings and walls, and cracked pipes. He lives with a partner and roommate in a small two bedroom rent-stabilized apartment, and his only source of income is cash he makes delivering Korean newspapers at night in Flushing. In September 2019 and in December 2019, our client received an eviction notice notifying him that his lease would not be renewed and that he needed to move out. He could not read this letter because it was in English and brought it to the senior center at Korean Community Services (KCS), asking for help. When he learned the contents of the letter, our client, out of fear and embarrassment of receiving such a notice, said he would move out immediately without question. KCS reached out to Communities Resist. We informed our client that he lives in a protected apartment and that he does not need to move out.
Communities Resist is now representing our client in the upcoming eviction case and organizing other Korean immigrant tenants in the building to form a tenant association. Once formed, the tenant association will bring a case against the landlord for harassment, repairs, and discimination.
Far too often, tenants are illegally evicted from their homes in situations like these because they are not aware of their rights, and legal services are often not culturally or linguistically accessible for them. Landlords prey on such vulnerabilities. This is an especially urgent crisis in the communities that we serve, which face high rates of luxury development, rezonings, and displacement.