The Real Deal New York

Council member Inez Dickens’ tenants go on rent strike

January 09, 2014 11:10AM

Tenants at Harlem buildings co-owned by City Council member Inez Dickens have begun a rent strike over the lack of heat or hot water in the properties.

Residents at a five-story walk-up building at 2155 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard claimed they have had to go days in the cold. Resident Syran Brantley, for example, has refused to pay her rent of $880 per month for a two-bedroom apartment there. Dickens and her sister jointly own the building, which houses her campaign office and the Martin Luther King Jr. Democratic Club on the ground floor.

Brantley’s complaints led the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to visit all of Dickens’ buildings, Including 187 Lenox Avenue and 2153 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, last week.

Dickens, who lost to Melissa Mark-Viverito in her bid for the Council speaker seat this week, reported to the Conflicts of Interest Board that she receives no more than $1,000 annually from the buildings she co-owns.

As of August, Dickens has racked up $265,000 in building fines for dangerous or unsanitary conditions at the building she and her sister own in her Harlem district, as previously reported. [NYDN]Mark Maurer