Slummin' it at 452 Fort Washington Ave.

Posted on 07. Dec, 2009 by in Sandeep Junnarkar, Urban

From the outside, 452 Fort Washington Ave. looks like another art deco building lining the picturesque block. But inside some residents live with crumbling walls, demolished bathrooms and gutted rooms.

At least half of the building’s 29 occupied units face some kind of a housing violation. Several residents that live in rent-controlled apartments said Dorothea Levine, the building’s landlord, ripped out their bathrooms last January to fix beams damaged by water, which they said occurred because of a leaking roof. The bathrooms have not been replaced yet.

According to HPD, the building facesĀ 98 violations, 75 of which are open. Residents from 14 apartments went on rent strike four years ago after Levine failed to meet various repair demands. They hired a lawyer, Bruno Bianchi, and began putting their rent money into an Escrow account. They have been in and out of housing court ever since.

Bianchi said he hopes that the city will appoint an administrator to manage the building before the end of the year, but many who live in the building doubt that will happen.

Stay tuned for the interview with Levine’s lawyer, Jeffrey Roth.

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