420 Melrose Residents Spill on Their Situation


Late last week we posted about the residents of a damaged Bushwick building unable to return to their apartments; since then a resident shared more details about the situation there. Eight families vacated the building at 420 Melrose more than one month ago after nearby excavation caused cracks in the building. The photo above is from inside the apartment building, where looters have gone through the resident’s stuff and stolen some of it. The resident who started the 420 Melrose Twitter account explains the situation:

“We were never given an opportunity to go in and get things. The landlord is still holding our security deposit and half a month’s rent hostage while we all try and figure out individually where to live… Some people have moved to new places, some people are staying with friends, some people have just moved back home to places like Texas. For a move in, it seems like the landlord doesn’t have as much interest in getting us back in as he has in flipping the building and jacking up the rent.

As for the DOB, we’re filing tort claims, which you have to file if you want to pursue any action at any time against a city agency, but generally we have been redirected to any number of city agencies that were only able to individually offer us space in a no-kitchen, shared bathroom homeless shelter. That’s really about all the city offers in terms of protections for people that this kind of thing happens to. DOB seems pretty mum right now in general. It’s impossible to get a straight answer in regards to timelines.”

This past Sunday the DOB allowed residents to enter the building and they will return next weekend to take everything besides furniture, as the building is not stable enough to remove it. The tenants have hired a lawyer and are doing a fundraiser in the next week or so to cover the retainer costs, which we will keep you updated about.
420 Melrose Place Residents Still Homeless [Brownstoner]
Bushwick Buildings Evacuated After Cracks Appear [Brownstoner]

8 Comment

  • Isn’t it disgusting that in spite of having to vacate their home, they had to get their stuff stolen.

    Awful. i feel terrible for the poor families that had to vacate their home.

    How awful to steal from another persons home.

  • Isn’t it disgusting that in spite of having to vacate their home, they had to get their stuff stolen.

    Awful. i feel terrible for the poor families that had to vacate their home.

    How awful to steal from another persons home.

  • Sounds like a bad situation made worse by an unscrupulous landlord.

    But what’s the cause of action against the Department of Buildings? I would think you should be filing a claim against the neighboring building’s owner and the contractor their negligence in causing the damage.

  • Sounds like a bad situation made worse by an unscrupulous landlord.

    But what’s the cause of action against the Department of Buildings? I would think you should be filing a claim against the neighboring building’s owner and the contractor their negligence in causing the damage.

  • Havemeyer

    It’s kind of nuts that tenants have so few rights in this situation.

  • I’m another resident of 420 Melrose. Believer it or not, the DOB has no oversight of the construction our landlord is doing to stabilize the building. They are supposed to review and issue a work permit (which we haven’t seen yet) but they don’t actively monitor the site. We’ve only been told by our landlord that we can go back inside to get some personal items. There’s absolutely no reason to believe it is safe; there’s even less reason to believe the work is being done as quickly as possible. It’s atrocious and dangerous that this is the City’s response to these situations.

    A legal battle may be the only solution but it’s just another expense while many of us have no money left (they are still holding our deposits and most have rented new or temporary apartments on top of our expenses and losses).