Her bathroom began sinking into the floor below and she received yet another vacate order from her landlords at BMI Management Corp., Aaron and Joe Israel.
While Hidalgo and other tenants from the building were in court over the matter on Dec. 9, they returned to find broken water pipes, shattered electric and gas boxes, and the basement boiler beaten and dented.
“We believe the landlord had someone vandalize the building,” Hidalgo said, speculating this was his attempt at reclaiming his building and bringing in new tenants. “He also mishandled the asbestos in the building, causing violations.”
Today, an average one-bedroom apartment in her neighborhood typically runs upwards of $2,500 per month, however Hidalgo pays just $757 and the other rent-stabilized tenants at her building pay significantly less.
“He offered me up to $50,000 to move out and the lady on the first floor $20,000,” Hidalgo claimed.
Since her vacate order last December, Hidalgo has been sleeping on friend’s couches with her two children while she finds a new place and gets her life back together.
The tenants from the six-unit building rallied in front of Brooklyn Housing Court in Downtown Brooklyn last week before going before a judge in an attempt at getting a court-appointed temporary building administrator to take over the building and make the numerous repairs.
“Sadly, we see these kinds of tactics all the time,” said Adam Meyers, a lawyer for the non-profit law firm, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, who is representing the tenants. “Too often tenants in these situations do not know their rights, don’t have the help of organizers and lawyers, and just give up.”
Following their Jan. 8 court date, Justice Mundy ordered that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) inspect the building on Jan. 15 to officially assess the damages.
“It’s not going to be heard until the 21st, and then that could take several days,” Meyer explained.