A Miserable Life Inside A Foreclosed Apartment

Living inside an apartment building that has been foreclosed on can become a living hell when the building crumbles into disrepair around you and there’s no landlord to call. Bursting heat pipes, cockroaches, mice, hunks of ceiling falling on you, and black mold seeping up the walls have become the new neighbors to tenants in one low-income apartment building in the Bronx where the landlord has long since checked out.

The Latest Victims Of The Foreclosure Crisis: Low-Income Apartment Renters [Huffington Post]

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  1. Reading_Comprehension says:

    I guess that’s the trade-off for no-rent living, right?

    • fortymegafonzies says:

      I was going to say the same thing. I’d be happy to do my own maintenance if I didn’t have any landlord to send a check to each month.

      • bravohotel01 says:

        You’d have to do all your neighbors’ maintenance, too. Common systems (water/sewage/heat) are all broken/breaking.

    • daemonaquila says:

      Hello? They’re paying rent, except those who have finally resorted to a rent strike to get the landlords to fix the building. Read the article.

      They can’t do their own maintenance when the problem is leaks in piping that runs through multiple apartments, and other systemic issues. Fixing their ceiling when there are many places outside their apartments where water is filling it won’t do a thing. This is systemic decrepitude that will costs tens of thousands to address, and major contracting.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        “in the spring of 2009, so many tenants had stopped paying rent …”

        So no, rent does not seem to be required at this point.

        • Southern says:

          Rent free since 2009?? Holy Hannah. There shouldn’t be any reason they don’t have at least a few thousand dollars saved up then.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            I think someone mentioned menthols and designer shoes. Seemed a reasonable theory.

          • thisusedtobemoreinterestingandhelpful says:

            and do you know how far a few thousand dollars will get you in NYC? Especially after you have taken a landlord to court? No one will rent to you. They live in rent stabilized apartments, the investors bought the buildings hoping to force them out like so many others have done and then renovate the buildings and rent them out at far higher prices. I think commenters here need to learn the word EMPATHY.

            • HighontheHill says:

              If in fact what you assert is true with regard to the landlord and his intentions and he has created this situation out of greed; the tenants need to take him to the streets to be gutted like a hog and hung by his prick from his building as a deterrent to ALL the other scumbags doing, or thinking of doing, the same thing.

              Real, eye for and eye accountability for asshole behavior is what this country needs, the streets could run red for months, and should imho, with the blood of all the lying, thieving, greedy, entitled douchebags who pillage our society with near impunity. The system is impotent against them, we the people are fully capable of taking it to the streets and seeing these wrongs righted.

              From the landlords we move to banking executives, mortgage brokers, lobbyists, politicians, you get the idea; this country is ripe for revolution.

  2. FireJayPa says:

    Isn’t the obvious answer move to a new residence? If the Landlord checked out and isn’t responding to fixing problems with the unit you can probably get away with not paying the landlord….you’re then making some scratch without paying rent and can then move into a new place.

    Or spend all that saved income on Menthols and Designer shoes…whichever

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Since it’s exclusively a low-income building and not mixed income, some people could afford to move and some people couldn’t. I would move, but I have the luxury of doing so. Many of these people probably can’t afford rent any higher than they pay (or would be paying) right now.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        You mean zero?

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          Yeah. It seems weird but I think a lot of the people have either been using the money they haven’t been using for rent for repairs instead, or the price gap between this place and the next cheapest is staggering. If rent was $1,000 and it jumped to $1,600 for wherever they could move to, they might have a little saved up from when they didn’t have to pay rent, but it’d go away quickly. And if your income doesn’t go up, and you’re going paycheck to paycheck anyway, moving is a lot more difficult than it appears.

        • JJ! says:

          “Many of these people probably can’t afford rent any higher than they pay (or would be paying) right now”

          Would be paying referencing the amount they were paying before their landlord bailed, presumably.

      • Mom says:

        One thing to remember is that the buildings are rent controlled. If the tenant has lived there any length of time, rent in a new place will double or triple.

    • PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

      Less than subtle racism much?

      • FireJayPa says:

        Who said anything about race? Someone’s a bit quick to play the race card….I don’t know if it’s white people , black people or purple people living in that joint. Nor is it important to the topic of discussion.

      • Bsamm09 says:

        I smoke menthols and wear designer shoes. I am also white and an accountant. Quit pigeon-holing my people.

    • ARP says:

      You forgot rims, and gold teeth. Why don’t you just come out and call them n*ggers? It would make save a lot of work in spotting racists.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Would it help if he had said “things they don’t really need and cost too much and ruin their ability to save money.”

        Because that describes a good chunk of the poor and lower-income group, regardless of race.

    • Gundy says:

      I searched and searched through the article and could find no reference to “menthols” or “designer shoes”. Could you please point out where you saw said terms in the article? Or were you just pulling a Limbaugh/Reagan?

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    They should apply for Section 8 housing if they are truly low income and unable to avoid an apartment.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      …unable to “afford” an apartment.

      I’m so poor, whenever I turn around there’s another apartment!

    • daemonaquila says:

      You clearly don’t know anything about how Section 8 and life of the poor or working poor. Many places have 1-2 year waiting lists for Section 8, and many others have stopped taking applications completely because the waiting lists have gotten so long that it’s just giving people false hope.

      Assuming that Section 8 is available there, the only thing that applying will achieve is MAYBE a chance at another low-income apartment after the ceiling has fallen in completely. Twice.

      • sponica says:

        a 1 to 2 yr wait for Section 8 would be a miracle for some people….around here the wait for most public housing units is anywhere from 4 to 8 years.

        • Beeker26 says:

          Section 8 is not public housing. It’s a federal voucher program that uses government funds to subsidize private rental units. In most places the average wait list is about 2 years. But in NYC it’s limited to only those who are victims of domestic abuse.

          But there is nothing to stop them from applying for section 8 outside of NYC if they desired, such as Long Island, Connecticut, Westchester, New Jersey, etc, provided any of those places are currently accepting applications.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Something they should have applied for years ago, given the continued state of these buildings.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        The worst that can happen by asking a question to get a response. It’s fucking stupid to dismiss Section 8 housing because you have a belief – true or not – that it’s some failed experiment.

        It exists and is a viable solution for these people.

        And, sadly it needs to be said: personal experiences do not equal scientific research. Your inidividual beliefs are not fact.

      • grumpygirl says:

        Yep, no additions to the Section 8 list in Oregon for the last 18 months.

    • Beeker26 says:

      Section 8 in NYC is restricted only for victims of domestic abuse.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      No one is unable to avoid an apartment in NYC. And, you assume that apartments are something to be avoided. Plenty of people live in apartments by choice because of convenience, size, simplicity, etc… It isn’t everyone’s ultimate dream to buy a house.

  4. kriswone says:

    Failing to see a problem here.

    In other news, words are created by combining letters, sentences are created by combining words, paragraphs are created by combining sentences…

  5. Southern says:

    Eventually the city will turn off the water due to unpaid bills, then we’ll hear about how “unfair” it is that the city can do that, forcing tenants to move (happens in Houston all the time).

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You can pay the water bill and not the apartment rent, assuming one doesn’t pay the other.

      • Southern says:

        Apartments aren’t billed individually for their water (at least no apartment I’ve ever heard of) – they pay the (landlord) through rent (usually as an extra fee), and the landlord pays it. The tenants MIGHT be able to get together to pay it directly to the city, but generally the city won’t let them do that anyway.

        They SHOULD be saving the money they would be paying in rent and using it to move, but I would imagine at least SOME of them will be saying “oOoOoohh, I can buy an extra pound of crack this month!”.. then they’ll want us to all feel guilty that they can’t afford to move even though they’ve been living rent free for the last 6 months.

        Sorry, I put a bandaid on my bleeding heart years ago.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          I’ve been to plenty of apartment buildings that don’t pay for water. Each tenant has to set up his or her own water, electricity, and gas (if applicable) accounts.

          • Southern says:

            Maybe it’s a regional thing then. Because here in Houston there’s a story at least once every 2-3 months where all the tenants are having to move because the landlord quit paying the water bill.

            Most apartments here include water, sewage & garbage in the rent, but you have to pay your own electricity/gas/cable/phone, etc.. Although there are some that give you free cable & electricity, too.

            • islandgirl says:

              It must be regional. I live in an apartment NC. Garbage and water are included in our rent, but we have to pay our own electric bill directly to the electric company.

              • pecan 3.14159265 says:

                Same here. Water and garbage are included but I pay my own electricity. I feel a little safe that my landlord won’t walk out since my building is always more or less at capacity and there are credit checks to make sure people can pay.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            Same, I’ve seen it both ways. But they are free to pool their money and pay the water bill independently. The article seems to suggests everyone there is fully capable of paying the current rent, which means they can pay their share of the water bill.

            In some ways it seems like this is a group of people used to subsidies and handouts, and when faced with a situation that they have to show initiative and innovation, don’t know how.

        • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

          Yes, because being poor is a character flaw that makes you use drugs and become financially irresponsible. An extra pound of crack. Really? Generalize much?

  6. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Here’s a novel idea: create a building co-op. Everyone chips in on upkeep, and every provides evenly for any expenses. This works especially well in the current situation, as there is no rent to pay anyone. Designate a coordinator position and a few other needed positions like accountant and lead mainenance. You’re essentially creating an HOA where each resident is a equal member.

    • Hoss says:

      Sounds like some of the issues are costly structural repairs. I wouldn’t want to spend a dime fixing up the structure that I don’t own. It’s more likely than not that the next landlord will evict everyone, rehab and do a quick sale

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        If you’re willign to pay rent on something you don’t own, why not use the rent to improve the situation.

        The article suggest these people don’t want to leave, mostly for irrational/sentimental reasons.

        • crackers says:

          The article also mentions that repairing the buildings could run as high as $24,000,000. With 400 residents, that’s still $60K each. Even if they only repaired for half as much, that’s still $30K that no one I know would be willing to spend fixing a property they don’t own…rent-free or not.

          • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

            Why couldn’t they just fix the things that are most pressing? If each person payed $1000 a month, that is $400,000 a month. That seems like it would get things rolling. If they think of it as rent money (which they would normally have to pay anyway) it wouldn’t seem so much like they were investing in someone else’s building. Plus paying for repairs gives them some interest in the building right? It seems like it could really help delay an eviction if the tenants used their own money to make the building livable. I could be totally wrong, but seems like some judge somewhere might have sympathy for a whole building of people banding together to make things better for themselves. Imagine 400 people putting man hours into fixing up what they could and then hiring what they can’t do to be done. Sounds like a great news/human interest story. Then, instead of people making fun of them, people would be using them as an example of what people can do to make their lives better.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      This is a fantastic idea. Yes, they could get booted out later, but it could take years. In the mean time, they could keep the water paid and do the minimal repairs needed to keep the building up. Certainly a few of the people have some skills they could use to do some repairs themselves. But pooling rent money would create a lot of capital really fast and it would allow them to have the money to make the big repairs. After they made the repairs, maybe they could cut the rent back to half, and have some sort of class to teach people how to save the rest and budget so that when they do get kicked out, they will have a nest egg to fall back on.

      Sounds like a nice hand up instead of a hand out.

  7. Mold says:

    Squat
    Take Possession
    Tell bankster to show you the note
    Make co-op

  8. gargunkle says:

    But it’s free, amirite? Get what you pay for, etc.

  9. TasteyCat says:

    Move.

    If you can’t afford to move or just don’t want to move, I guess you get what you pay for.

    • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

      “…and let them decrease the surplus population.”

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        ”I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled …I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children…The poorer tenants will have something valuable of their own, which by law may be made liable to distress and help to pay their landlord’s rent, their corn and cattle being already seized, and money a thing unknown.”

        http://art-bin.com/art/omodest.html

  10. 4Real says:

    Do they still pay rent? I would start my own management service where the still there residents pay like $500 a month just to keep the maintenance stuff running.

    • Hoss says:

      There’s a very detailed story at the top, and then some summary comments about the details of the article just above your statement

  11. HungryGal says:

    This is a situation where the tenants should get together and start putting their rent into an escrow account pending the resolution of the building condition issues. If they are not resolved when people’s leases are up, they can get their money back. And this is legal, no one is squatting, so the landlord can’t kick them out, and he has motivation to deal with the building.

    • Hoss says:

      The escrow will simply preserve their rights to remain after the building gets a landlord. In the mean time, there is a crisis situation for which apparently our gov’t doesn’t have a cure.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I endorse this idea. Very clever.

  12. romoish says:

    Paying no rent and living in a crumbling, abandoned building? Where we come from we call that being homeless.

  13. madanthony says:

    A firm offer is apparently in hand from a landlord, who owns several other buildings in the Bronx. He has been actively reaching out to win the tenants’ approval, promising to fix up the properties.
    But some tenants worry that he will take over the buildings, do the work as promised, and then substantially increase their rent to recover his costs.

    The nerve of him, wanting to cover his costs. He should be a landlord strictly to help people, not for personal gain!

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      I see land-lording as a 2 way street that benefits both parties. And I find landlords who understand and embrace this idea are more often blessed with decent, long term tenants than crappy absentee landlords.

      Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of rotten apples on both sides of that fence.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        This is why we only live in corporate owned apartments(we actually have stayed renting from one company, moving up in quality with each move.) They have an onsite office and maintenance.We know all of the ladies in the office. We have a computerized rent payment and maintenance request system. The management busts balls about cleaning up after pets, putting the trash out at the curb too early, etc… I feel for people in NYC where I know it is a different game. But, there are other places to live.

    • common_sense84 says:

      The problem is they should not have to pay more in rent to pay for damage caused by neglect.

      Really it sounds like NYC needs a law that forces banks to pay for all maintenance with existing rent if foreclosure happens. That way banks will put maintenance requirements in mortgages, that if are not met mean forclosure. So the bank can take the property back faster and put the rent towards repairs before things get so bad that the building is worthless without substantially raising rent.

  14. heart.shaped.rock says:

    And the rent is too DAMN high…

  15. EverCynicalTHX says:

    I’m confused…according to prior posts here it’s a “smart move” to walk away from a foreclosure as the owner of the building did?

  16. DanKelley98 says:

    “and there’s no landlord to call.”

    So are you paying rent or not?

  17. Maxamus says:

    Yeah, and I’m sure they are making their rent payments………..

  18. lordtaco says:

    Look it’s the bronx in the late 70′s all over again