Tenants speaking up and moving out of Elmwood Village tenement

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Nancy Ferro is so fed up with living conditions at the Elmwood Heights apartments, she refused to pay the rent and, as of Thursday, she is moving out of the Elmwood Village apartment building.

Ferro withheld her rent for one month, and when the landlord filed papers to evict her, they decided it would just be easier to go their separate ways.

Elmwood Heights is a multi-unit apartment building at the corner of Elmwood and Lexington avenues, and Ferro said she would rather move out than put up with the living conditions.

She pointed to a gas range that has been connected for 5 months, and a long list of code violations written up by a city housing inspector. Nancy cited those living conditions when she went to court over the eviction issue.

When Ferro asked the property manager how she is supposed to cook without a stove, “She said just to go out and buy some hot plates. I think the landlord should have provided all that.  He just left us with nothing.”

The owner of record for the apartment building is Elmwood Heights LLC, and according to Erie County tax records, the corporation’s address is a post office box in the Rockland County hamlet of Monsey, near New York City.

When News 4 spoke with Ferro she was accompanied by Aminah Johnson, a community organizer for PUSH Buffalo, who has received numerous complaints from the tenants at Elmwood Heights.

Johnson said it is almost impossible to reach the landlord or a manager, “He lives in New York state, but you can’t reach him. He’s got a local number, but every time I try to call, he does not answer the phone, and the same thing with the property manager.”

Ferro also demonstrated what could happen in case of a fire, she can’t open her second floor windows to reach the fire escape–a frightening thought considering there was a fire on the third floor back in December.

Other tenants are also moving out, one way or another, said Johnson—either willingly, or by eviction, and she recalled a former resident who was so desperate to leave he just packed up and left, risking the loss of his security deposit and being held responsible for future rent.

“His father came over here, they broke the lease, and he moved out two weeks ago.  He said if he goes to small claims, that is good and well, but he said his son is not going to live here any longer like this.”

Elmwood Heights LLC is due back in Buffalo Housing Court on April 23.

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