On April 18th, 2023 our very own Community Health Worker Santiago Salas was featured on Univision for our work around tenants’ rights in partnership with other organizations helping to hold a negligent landlord responsible for keeping his buildings up to code. View the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urUqUKwqjtQ (Warning: Footage of rats and cockroaches)
Read more about the story below from Santiago Salas:
On January 9, 2021, five tenants at 245 E 110th St were hospitalized due to a carbon monoxide leak in their building caused by the boiler. A few days after this incident, building management broke the lock on the basement door that ConEd had placed and turned it on without fixing it, the carbon monoxide alarms went off again, and the tenants had to evacuate. The boiler incident was the drop that spilled the glass for the tenants and they began to organize to hold the landlord accountable.
Ivan Sun is the owner who currently has 247 open violations in HPD alone at 245 E 110th St, 107 are class C (these must be resolved in 30 days or less) Ivan owns 14 buildings in East Harlem. Through our organizing efforts, we have discovered that Ivan Sun owns 14 buildings in East Harlem, we have worked with tenants from 4 different buildings and found that he keeps them all in the same condition. As we continue to investigate his other residential properties in the area, residents continue to deal with years of abuse and mistreatment by this owner. We partnered with Manhattan Together and Take Root Justice and an attorney filed an HP action against the landlord, on March 24, 2022, the case was settled but no significant repairs were made and the landlord continues to ignore all tenant concerns.
Mr. Sun has threatened the tenants multiple times and used their lack of US citizenship to exploit them further. We have worked with Heat Seek to obtain digital thermometers to track data on inadequate heating conditions. Data shows that tenants have suffered from insufficient heating standards in their apartments that are significantly below New York City heating standards. The tenants have said that they have to shower with cold water. Additionally, tenants in these buildings reported a severe rat infestation in the building that has not been addressed, stating that they hear rats moving through the walls at all hours of the night. They are also eating through the walls, which resulted in a small child being bitten by a rat (this occurred in another building owned by the owner at 313 E 115th). This landlord has continued to maintain an inhumane standard of living.