Crown Heights renters protest New York’s “worst landlord”

16 tenants at 1616 President Street have gone on a rent strike

1616 President Street in Crown Heights (Google Maps; iStock)
1616 President Street in Crown Heights (Google Maps; iStock)

More than a dozen residents of a four-story building in Crown Heights are protesting New York’s so-called worst landlord by going on a rent strike, Curbed reported.

Jason Korn, who owns the building at 1616 President Street, was named the city’s worst individual landlord in 2019 by Public Advocate Jumanne Williams, whose office maintains a watchlist of property owners with numerous violations at their properties.

The building, which is managed by Lilmor Management, has more than 123 open violations — 17 of which were reported over the last two weeks — from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, including vermin infestations, mold issues and peeling lead paint.

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At first, the rent strike seemed to work, with Korn agreeing to Zoom negotiations in late October, according to the publication. But since then, he has tried to evict most of the tenants in the building. There have also been notices posted cautioning striking residents they will be forced to go to housing court to pay what they owe.

“The landlord’s not looking to evict anybody, but if you don’t communicate, you don’t pay rent, you don’t give access, you’re essentially forcing our hand,” said Joel Rosenblum, an attorney for Korn.

Korn’s attorneys now want tenants to provide a list of necessary repairs and dates when those could be done, and claim that they are willing to negotiate repayment plans with individual renters.

Residents of the building remain committed to their fight. “I immediately thought, Okay, take me to court,” said Angela Robinson, a 17-year resident of the building. “Let the judge see what’s going on. We’re fed up with this nonsense.”
[Curbed] — Keith Larsen