Former Dawnay Day tenants launch suit to remove property manager, protest potential new landlord

March 22, 2010 01:31PM

A group of East Harlem tenants from 47 allegedly poorly maintained buildings previously owned by failed British investment firm Dawnay Day protested yesterday outside the offices of EH Property Management, which has been overseeing the properties since they went into foreclosure in August. The tenants, along with their attorneys from the Urban Justice Center, also launched a lawsuit to remove EH from its management role, charging that the company has harassed them and charged false fees, all while refusing to make needed repairs and ignoring hundreds of emergency violations in the buildings. Because the buildings are in foreclosure, tenants in the 1,100 apartments cannot demand repairs in housing court, but must go through the management company chosen by the court receiver. Hope Community, the landlord reportedly angling to purchase the distressed portfolio, also has a history of neglecting properties and forcing out low-income tenants, the protesters alleged as they moved from the EH headquarters to those of Hope Community yesterday, in a campaign to block the company’s takeover. Hope Community was not immediately available for comment. EH is run by Michael Kessner, the son of the buildings’ former owner, Steven Kessner — one of the Village Voice’s 10 worst city landlords in 2006. Kessner was hired by Dawnay Day before the company folded. TRD