Cases & Deals

Housing project team partners with Legal Aid to improve living conditions at local apartment building

Client(s) Adopt-a-Building Program 149th Partners, L.P.

This year for the first time Jones Day is participating in Legal Aid's Adopt-A-Building Program. The Adopt-A-Building Program pursues landlords of buildings with repeat Housing Code violations and seeks repairs for tenants. Jones Day attorneys partnered with the Legal Aid Society and represented nine tenants of a building on West 149th Street.

In April, a group of Jones Day attorneys met with tenants of the West 149th Street apartment building to discuss conditions in the building. Following the April meeting, with guidance from team advisor Michael Templeton and team leaders Marissa Cohen, Joe Hand and Joe Strazzeri, team members Helena Ajudua, Nick Ahuja, Dan Culhane, Rich Galati, Briana Hulet, Preston Imperatore, Jeff Jones, David Marks and Eric Stephens prepared verified petitions outlining the substandard conditions in the building common areas and a number of apartments. The petitions were filed in the New York City Housing Court commencing HP Proceedings against the landlord of the apartment building. In May, following inspections by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Jones Day and Legal Aid negotiated a so-ordered stipulation with landlord's counsel requiring the landlord to make repairs to all open Housing Code violations and setting a hearing on any outstanding conditions for July 1.

Throughout the month of June, repairs were made at the building, but a number of Housing Code violations were not addressed. At the July 1 hearing, Joe Strazzeri, Helena Ajudua, Eric Stephens and Legal Aid attorney Magda Rosa-Rios negotiated a second so-ordered stipulation requiring the landlord to address additional Housing Code violations and other substandard conditions.

As a result of the two so-ordered stipulations, the landlord has corrected a significant number of Housing Code violations and other conditions. Before the recent stipulations, some of the violations had existed for more than ten years. Examples of conditions that have been corrected include: lack of heat, missing smoke detectors, leaks and water damage, defective fixtures and appliances, an uncapped gas line, exposed electrical wires and defective locks. The tenants are thrilled that conditions in their apartments are finally improving and have been extremely grateful for the work of the Jones Day attorneys. Jones Day continues to monitor the completion of any outstanding repairs at the building.