The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

Category Archives: Photos and Videos

A Look Inside Tenants’ Protest at Lone Star Funds

On September 27, 2012 tenants from Inwood and Washington Heights visited the New York offices of predatory equity company Lone Star Funds. Check out this great video of tenants fighting for their homes!



To join tenants in this important fight, click here and sign our petition to Lone Star Funds. Please share this video and this petition with your friends. It is vital that Lone Star Funds hear tenant concerns and stop speculating on affordable housing in Northern Manhattan.

Does This Building Look Repaired to You?

The 10 Milbank buildings purchased by Steve Finkelstein are now just 9: 2264 Holland Avenue was sold in February 2012. But the smaller portfolio hasn’t stopped Finkelstein from loading up on debt. The outstanding debt on the portfolio is now $45.5M with lender Cantor Commercial Real Estate, up from $30M with Signature Bank at the time of purchase.

According to a legally binding agreement made at the time of purchase, Finkelstein should have corrected 80% of B and C violations in the 10 buildings by October 2011.  The Westchester based landlord claims that the buildings are now managed well, repaired, and approaching full occupancy. He claims the additional debt is sustainable. We’re not sure he’s right, or that he is in compliance with the agreement executed in April 2011. Check out photos from 1576 Taylor Avenue, last night:

Tenants from the Milbank portfolio are angry, to say the least. Their landlord has pocketed an additional $15M, and they’re not getting the repairs they deserve. 1576 Taylor is riddled with water damage, electrical problems, sagging floors and leaking faucets. Many of the newly installed sinks and toilets are barely clinging to the walls already. One rent-paying tenant’s bathtub was “repaired” without a shower option. Common quotes from last night: “He’s never been in my apartment.” “He said he’d fix my apartment in the spring, but the workers left in January and they never came back.”  And, of course: “The intercom doesn’t work.” “I have things crawling in through the hole in the wall.” But Milbank tenants are resilient, and they’re organized, and they’re ready to fight back.

SH*T NY SLUMLORDS SAY

Enjoy!

VIDEO: 1520 Sedgwick Auction Celebration!

1520 Sedgwick tenants today triumphed against Predatory Equity! Watch them celebrate at the foreclosure auction!

For a history of the building, read here!

Organizing for Occupation: Video from Inside the Foreclosure Auction

On October 13, members of O4O (Organizing for Occupation) teamed up with Occupy Wall Street protestors to successfully block a Brooklyn foreclosure auction!

At least 7 confirmed arrests were made inside the courtroom; possibly 12 total. The auction was successfully stopped. All arrestees have been released with minor charges.

We stand in solidarity with all of those who are suffering from predatory lending and unsound banking practices in single family homes.

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