A Brooklyn housing court judge has appointed a 7A administrator to fix hazardous living conditions and manage the building in place of the landlord.
The court order is a victory for tenants who say they have been harassed and discriminated against by their landlord, Joel Fried. Tenants said Fried withheld repairs and attempted a full building eviction.
The building caught on fire in August 2018, causing the city to vacate the residents. Since then, one of the families have been living in a city-funded shelter.
“I feel triumphant after 11 years of fighting this and the previous landlord,” said Isabel Lopez, one of the tenants at 374 Wallabout Street.
According to the court order, Fried has taken no steps to rehabilitate or restore the building. Therefore, the judge wrote, the appointment of an independent administrator is “necessary and mandatory under these circumstances.”
Adam Meyers, direction of litigation for Communities Resist, which represented the tenants, said in a statement that the judge’s decision was “right on the mark.”
“The repairs needed at 374 Wallabout are critical, but not difficult,” Meyers said, “and the landlord’s continuing inaction requires the appointment of a qualified administrator.”
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez said in a statement that she was relieved to learn that the court ordered an administrator.
“When neighbors stand together, we can hold landlords to account,” Velazquez said. “Going forward, I’ll be watching closely to see that the city does their part to fund the needed repairs.”