Updated 06/27/2012 10:42 PM
Displaced Bronx Tenants Return With Lawsuit
Dozens of Bronx residents were allowed back into their apartment building Wednesday after being forced out earlier this month following the illegal removal of fire escapes by the building's owner, prompting some tenants to take legal action. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
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A smiling tenant walking into 2400 Webb Avenue is a rarity. The city allowed 10 families with ground floor apartments to move back home Wednesday.
"I just want to go in and relax, take a shower and get something to eat in my own kitchen," one tenant said.
That's something most people take for granted. But it's been more than three weeks since the city forced about 200 residents to vacate the building for their own safety, leaving them scrambling for places to live.
They spread out to friends and hotels across the city after the owner, Goldfarb Properties, removed all the fire escapes, saying it said it got bad advice.
Construction crews are working to re-install the fire escapes so the residents can return to the roughly 65 apartments that remain vacated.
While the work continues, residents of the apartments on the second floor and above shuttle from temporary living locations to jobs and schools in the Bronx. Goldfarb is subsidizing hotel costs but with less money than first promised.
Tenants filed suit against the landlord in housing court Wednesday, in part looking for a judge to monitor the process.
Residents say Goldfarb now claims workers might get done soon and the rest of the tenants may be able to return home in the beginning of July.
Goldfarb has yet to return a call from NY1 asking for comment.