Ridgewood tenants are banding together to take their building back from a private equity firm alleged to be a predatory landlord.
They just need some financial help from City Hall.
Residents of about 36 rent-regulated units in six buildings near the Brooklyn border — at 1821 and 1896 Cornelia St., 1726, 1673 and 1675 Woodbine and 18-14 Linden St. — hope that the city will help them out.
The tenants allege that Stabilis Capital, the firm that owns the debt on their buildings, has done little to fix the buildings’ many problems.
The firm has a much-publicized track record of obtaining the mortgages to foreclosed buildings — usually rent-stabilized — and allowing the properties to fall into disrepair.
“We don’t have no locks on the doors, no bells that work, and any fixing we have to do on our own,” said Denise Serrano, the tenant leader of one of the six buildings that Stabilis has been trying to acquire through foreclosure proceedings. “Everything is cracking, and the heat and hot water, sometimes, so that gets turned off.”
The court approved a management firm to handle maintenance on the buildings. The original landlord, Steven Kates, has been fighting the foreclosure in court for more than six years.
The tenants say they need more than $1 million through incentives, loans and tax breaks that the city offers for affordable housing programs to make an offer for the building.
They fear they could eventually be pushed out of their apartments, many of which are stabilized units that rent significantly below what they would fetch at market rates.
Serrano’s three-bedroom rents for $789 a month, for example.