The owner of a 23-unit multifamily building in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Corona, Queens, sent his tenants a letter demanding they provide proof of their legal residency or face eviction.
Tenants of the building at 95-36 42nd Avenue received the notice last week demanding each leaseholder show up at the property’s management office with a photo ID, Social Security card and proof of both employment as well as “Your status in the US (Green card or Passport),” the Daily News reported.
“P.S If you fail to comply, your lease will not be renewed, we may have to terminate your lease and may have to evict you from the apartment,” read the notice from “New Management.”
Landlord Jaideep Reddy apologized after the newspaper started making inquiries, and said the letter came after more than a year of frustration over trying to gain access to apartments to make repairs following a fire.
“That’s wrong,” he told the newspaper, referring to the letter. “I’ll retract that. I’m sorry.”
“Each apartment has 12 people in there! Is that safe? I don’t think it’s safe,” Reddy said. “Half the tenants won’t let the electrician into their apartment.”
Reddy bought the four-story building at the corner of Junction Boulevard and 42nd Avenue for $2.78 million in 2012, property records show. He said the electrician wrote the letter.
“That was stupid on his part,” Reddy said.
The electrician, Eddie Peralta, said his secretary wrote the letter before he went off on a rant about undocumented immigrants.
“What Donald Trump is doing is right. People need to become legal!” yelled Peralta, who moved to the United States in 1983 from Colombia. “Look what we do for all these illegal aliens, and what do they do? They commit homicides. They go raping people.”
State Senator Jose Peralta said he plans to file a complaint with the state Attorney General’s office about the letter, which he said violates the city’s Human Rights Law banning discrimination based on immigration status.
Last week, Queens landlord Zara Realty was accused in a lawsuit that it asked undocumented, stabilized tenants about their visa status for rent renewals. Zara, which has faced tenant harassment allegations in the past, also displayed advertisements with a federal immigration tip line that advocates say was designed to threaten undocumented tenants. [NYDN] – Rich Bockmann