Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MJB Victory Against Dawnay, Day Group

Here is the press release from Movement for Justice in El Barrio announcing final confirmation that Dawnay, Day Group is leaving East Harlem as well as the victory they've just won against them in court. Below that is an article en español from yesterday's El Diario...

For Immediate Release
Contact Juan Haro, (212) 561-0555

Most Powerful Landlord in East Harlem, Multi-National Dawnay, Day Group, Comes Crashing Down

October 14, 2009—In a battle of David and Goliath proportions, tenants and members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio fought back against the attempts of the multi-billion dollar London-based corporation Dawnay, Day Group to push low-income families from their homes.

Thousands of East Harlem tenants have just been notified that the 47 buildings they reside in have been seized, due to Dawnay, Day’s failure to pay its massive outstanding debts, and are now under receivership, completing the demise of this multi-national company, a powerful threat to the community of El Barrio.

The multinational corporation that had scooped up 47 buildings in East Harlem, controlling one of the largest private property collections in Manhattan and by far the largest in East Harlem, is going down. Worldwide, Dawnay, Day has fallen victim to its own greed and is selling off its properties to cover its debt.

The East Harlem community has outlasted the giant through a multi-pronged strategy of resistance. This news comes close on the heels of a ground breaking legal victory in a case filed by Movement for Justice in El Barrio concerning thousands of dollars in false charges that were tormenting low-income tenants. Through this case, Movement for Justice in El Barrio partnered with Manhattan Legal Services and NEDAP to employ the innovative use of consumer protection laws for the first time in the housing arena with great success. Members of Movement for Justice in El Barrio just signed a settlement that will benefit thousands of tenants by putting an end to the practice of charging tenants thousands of dollars in false and illegal charges, instituting a new 3% cap on late fees for all tenants, and the plaintiffs receiving monetary damages, among other victories.

When Dawnay, Day became the most powerful landlord in East Harlem with their immense purchase, they announced in an interview with the Times of London their plan to take advantage of lax tenant protection laws in NYC to raise rents by "tenfold", a massive rent hike that would only be possible by evicting the current low-income and immigrant families from their homes. Again, they made their intentions explicit when they launched their “Buy-back Program” and began pushing tenants to abandon their apartments for a lump sum of $10,000. They coupled what amounts to measly and misleading offers in today’s NYC rental market with severe harassment in the form of dangerous negligence to the physical conditions of the buildings and apartments and illegal efforts to collect fictitious debts. Movement for Justice in El Barrio fought back against their efforts by:

- Filing a groundbreaking legal suit and recently winning a major victory that challenged Dawnay, Day Group, for charging thousands of dollars in false fees to its tenants.

- Launching the “International Campaign in Defense of El Barrio” and traveling to London to organize action to take them on at their headquarters.

- Fighting back building by building to demand decent living conditions and halt illegal evictions and maintaining a sustained media campaign exposing Dawnay, Day’s harassment.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio will continue the struggle for dignity and against displacement with more strength and energy than ever before.

Dawnay Day tenants will be available to conduct media interviews.

To arrange interviews call Movement for Justice in El Barrio at 212-561-0555.


Casero negligente pierde viviendas
El Diario NY

NUEVA YORK — Después de más de dos años de luchar contra el desalojo de sus viviendas contra la corporación londinense Dawnay, Day Group, dueña de 47 edificios en El Barrio los inquilinos recibieron recientemente una noticia que los alegró: por problemas financieros, este grupo dejó de pagar su hipoteca y los inmuebles han quedado bajo el control de la Corte Suprema de Nueva York.

Harvey Fishbein, designado por la Corte como Administrador legal de los edificios, informó a los inquilinos el 29 de septiembre pasado que Dawnay, Day Group no ha estado pagando su hipoteca, y los prestamistas—el Banco de Nueva York Mellon Trust y National Association— han comenzado un procedimiento legal para ejecutar la hipoteca. “He sido designado por la Corte no sólo para colectar el alquiler, sino también para ciertas responsabilidades de mantenimiento”, comunicó Fishbein.

De acuerdo con Juan Haro, del Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, la noticia fue recibida con alegría por los inquilinos de Dawnay, Day Group, porque desde que esta corporación tomó posesión de los inmuebles, “empezó un plan bien agresivo para desalojar a los inquilinos, cobrándoles cargos falsos”.

Esta lucha, según Haro, llegó a los inquilinos a unirse, protestar e incluso demandar al casero en corte.

La noticia de la salida de El Barrio de Dawnay, Day Group se produce pocos días después de que los inquilinos ganaran una demanda contra el grupo por miles de dólares en cargos falsos a los inquilinos. Fue presentada por el Movimiento por Justicia del Barrio, en asociación con los Servicios Jurídicos de Manhattan, NEDAP, pero no bajo las leyes de Vivienda, sino bajo las leyes de Protección al Consumidor.

Los inquilinos denunciaron cargos en el alquiler por gastos en mantenimiento responsabilidad del casero. “Los inquilinos recibieron compensación monetaria al ganar la demanda y, entre otros beneficios, se estableció un tope de 3% de cargos por pagos atrasados en el alquiler”, dijo Haro.

Paula Serrano, quien reside con sus dos hijos pequeños en el 328 East de la calle 106, dijo que desde que Dawnay, Day Group tomó el edificio, empezó a recibir cargos falsos de $300 y $400 por supuestas reparaciones, y su balance llegó a $2,000. “Estoy muy contenta de que se haya ido Dawnay, Day Group, porque el plan de ellos era sacarnos de aquí”, dijo.

Los inquilinos esperan que los nuevos dueños se ajusten a la ley.

Llamadas a Dawnay, Day Group no fueron contestadas al cierre.


Unknown said...

This is really exciting...But my question is...what will happen to the buildings now? The buildings are currently under the control of the Supreme Court....so what is this likely to mean for the tenants

RJ Maccani said...

In the short term, I believe it means they won't be under the same sort of attack they had been when the buildings were owned by Dawnay, Day. I will keep you posted though, ayla, as news emerges of what happens next.