Bronx rental tenants balk at allegedly illegal fees

Landlords accused of tacking on hundreds of dollars said to pay for legal fees, appliance use
May 21, 2014 01:35PM

A group of long time Bronx tenants has filed a complaint with the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal claiming that their landlords are charging illegal fees every month. 

Tenants claimed on Tuesday that their landlords tacked on hundreds of dollars to their monthly rental bills, allegedly to pay for legal fees and the use of electrical appliances. About 35 tenants joined the Tuesday morning rally organized by Community Action for Safe Apartments, a project of New Settlement Apartments, at 1549 Townsend Avenue. The assembled tenants told the New York Daily News that they are suddenly being charged for the use of air conditioners, washing machines and dryers in units where they have lived for decades.

“It’s ridiculous, Elnora Smith, 69, an East Bronx resident since 1975, told the Daily News. “It’s not fair. This is aggravating when you look on your bill and see this on there, and you know they’re not supposed to be there.”

Smith added that she pays $469 in monthly rent. She claimed that her landlord, Jonathan Weiner of Chestnut Holdings, started charging a monthly washing machine charge of $13, which now has increased to $16.87. Legislation to make such fees illegal was introduced last year, but has not yet passed.

Landlords named in the complaint are Steve Finkelstein, who owns 901 Walton Avenue in the Concourse section of the Bronx, as well as Sam Rosen, Mandelbaum Ralph and Eric Samson, the Daily News reported. [NYDN]  – Claire Moses