October 23, 2013 Leave a comment
After two years of tenant organizing, not that much shocks me anymore. I’ve seen holes in ceilings, mold covering bedroom walls, and families living without basic amenities like fridges or stoves. But walking into 755 Jackson Avenue in the Bronx was a shock.
A quick rundown: The building has 11 units and 215 code violations. It’s in HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program, and on the Bill de Blasio’s Worst Landlord List. The building has asbestos, lead paint, mold, leaks, and two tenants were injured on a collapsed staircase (pictured above).
And if that’s not enough, it’s owned by the one and only Stabilis Capital Management. (In case you forgot, Stabilis is the lender on 836 Faile Street and six buildings in Ridgewood, all of which are in foreclosure and in deplorable condition.)
Wait! Stop the presses! Stabilis owns buildings? That was our question, too, given that we’ve only ever seen them acting as a mortgage holder interested in flipping debt.
That probably was their plan here as well, but things went wrong: Stabilis bought the debt at 755 Jackson Ave while the building was in foreclosure. When the building went to auction, we assume no one bid and Stabilis took the title by default. It seems like it was all a big mistake. With a lot of consequences.
While Stabilis became owner in June, they have done nothing to step forward and claim responsibility for the building. This has left tenants in a position where they don’t know who to call in an emergency or who to pay rent to. It leaves the City responsible for repairs. The building is effectively abandoned.
We’re now organizing at Jackson Avenue and tenants are planning to push Stabilis out of their building. And now that we know how Stabilis treats the buildings they own, we’re doubly fired up to fight against them at Faile Street and in Ridgewood, Queens.
Tenants, elected officials, and advocates are demanding that Stabilis find a responsible way to dispose of this property, and the other distressed multifamily buildings in their portfolio. Check out Councilmember Maria del Carmen Arroyo’s letter to Stabilis Capital here, and stay tuned to our campaign!!