Tenants of distressed South Bronx rental hold rent strike

Residents seek to prevent landlord Louis Bombart from controlling rat-infested property

888 Grand Concourse in the Bronx
888 Grand Concourse in the Bronx

The tenants of a six-story South Bronx apartment building are holding a rent strike in an effort to prevent landlord Louis Bombart of Tiny Fiesta Realty from controlling the property while it’s in foreclosure.

Bombart’s 81-unit, rat-infested property at 888 Grand Concourse is at the center of a foreclosure lawsuit over $7 million allegedly owed to Capital One, DNAinfo reported. Tenants at the rat-infested building are refusing to pay rent after years of pushing Bombart to make repairs. In 2013, they took Bombart to Bronx Housing Court for the long overdue repairs, but conditions remain untenable.

The building has appeared on Public Advocate Letitia James’ worst landlord list and the Department of Housing and Preservation’s list, known as the Alternative Enforcement Program, for buildings with several violations. Three years ago, there were 342 open violations, according to HPD.

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The tenants’ rent strike is also intended to make it harder for Bombart to hold onto the building, Bob Hammond of Legal Services NYC, who is helping the tenants with the strike, told DNAinfo.

“It ties up his income and makes things fiscally more difficult for him,” Hammond said, “and hopefully reduces his options when it comes to retaining the building.”

Thus far, about 16 tenants are taking part of the rent strike. [DNAinfo]Dusica Sue Malesevic