The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

Tag Archives: vorillas management inc

Suprise, Suprise, We’re still here.

Last night Cea and I proceeded to have a building meeting at 602 W 139 Street after a menacing conversation with “Ralph”.

About 25 minutes into our meeting, a gruff looking man with a lot gel in his hair (presumably “Ralph”) interrupted the meeting to let us know that Cea and I had no legal right to be in the building.

After handing “Ralph” the law which says that we do in fact have the right to organize, he continued to insist (without even looking at the paper) that we were illegal intruders, and he proceeded to call the cops.

Cea and I politely encouraged him to do so, and handed out more copies of the law to the tenants.

Apparently this pesky “Ralph” is also the Missing-In-Action  super for the building – and tenants hilariously used this opportunity to recommend that he make more repairs. This was followed by a bout of shouting, and then…

The cops arrived.

This was followed by a polite conversation in which Cea and I informed them of the law, handed them a copy of it, and explained that we were invited into the building for this meeting. Tenants agreed and explained that we were invited guests. The policeman asked “Ralph” if he had seen a copy of this law and “Ralph” of course said no.  The policeman turned to the tenant’s and said “this guy really shouldn’t be giving you a hard time”, and “Ralph” sauntered away quietly.

Not that I’m keeping score or anything, but as of yesterday it looks like:  Tenants: 1 Management: 0

Today’s Update: Organizers in Cuffs?

We’re on our way to a first tenant meeting in Harlem. The building has 194 Housing Code Violations, on 26 units, so it more than qualifies for the statutory definition of distressed (3 or more code violations per unit.)

We just got a phone call, from “Ralph,” who claims to be both a real estate broker and friend of the management. He claimed he was saving us from the wrath of the management company, but he still managed to swear up and down, belittle UHAB AND the tenants in the building, and promise me that Elyssa and I would be leaving the building in cuffs.

We’re ready – armed with copies of the tenants right to organize. Check back tomorrow for videos of crazy landlords and stories – hopefully not of a night in jail.

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