Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lawsuit: Landlord Refuses To Allow Nonverbal, Developmentally Disabled Tenant In Need Of Full-Time Caretaker To Add Sister To Her Lease ($356/Month, 2-Bedroom Apt.); Serves Them Both With Eviction Papers Instead

In New York City, the New York Daily News reports:
  • A nonverbal, developmentally disabled woman faces eviction because the building's owner won't add her sister to her lease, a new lawsuit alleges.

    Blanca Martinez has lived in her East Harlem apartment, located on E. 107th St. and Lexington Ave., for 28 years. Martinez, 58, has cerebral palsy, and doctors have also diagnosed her with "moderate mental deficiency."

    "She is mostly nonverbal, and generally points or nods in response to questions," according to her Manhattan Federal Court lawsuit, filed on May 26th.

    Because of Martinez's condition, she needs a full-time caretaker to help her bathe, dress and use the restroom. Her parents took care of her for many years and held the lease on the apartment where she lives.

    But in July 2010, her father, Marcos, died and her mother, Maria, developed Alzheimer’s in 2014 — requiring her sister, Thelma, to care for both of them, court papers state.

    "Wherever I go, my sister comes with me," Thelma Martinez told the Daily News in an exclusive interview. "I never let her out of my sight."

    Following the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, Martinez, 57, asked the building's management, Manhattan North Management Co., to add her to the lease.

    Manhattan North said no because of a previous housing court judgment, the civil suit states.

    When their mother died in March 2016, the Martinez sisters stayed in the home and Thelma took care of Blanca.

    The building's management hit the siblings with an eviction notice in October, claiming Blanca let her younger sister live in the apartment without its consent.

    Thelma said she doesn't know where else they could go on their combined income — and find another two-bedroom for $356 per month. "It's hard for me because I don't work, (but) I wouldn't be able to go back to work — because I can't leave my sister alone," Thelma Martinez said.

    "I don't know much about shelters," she said. "It frightens me."

    Martinez, who is trying to get power of attorney over her sister and hopes the suit, filed by Aisha Elston-Wesley, a staff attorney with Manhattan Legal Services's Tenant Rights Coalition,(1) will allow them to stay.

    "This is the place where my sister feels calm, at peace, happy," Martinez said. "This is her home."

    Neither Manhattan North, which manages the property, nor L.A. Equities Corp., which owns the 108-unit building, responded to requests for comment.
Source: Harlem landlord threatens to evict disabled woman because she wants caretaker sister added on lease: lawsuit.
------------------------
(1) Manhattan Legal Services is a part of Legal Services NYC, a non-profit organization providing legal services to low-income residents throughout New York City. fair housing

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home