Ridgewood residents whose apartment building was sold at auction unite to stay in their homes

Photo by Anthony Giudice/QNS

The residents who tried to fight a public auction of their Ridgewood apartment building have joined forces to make sure the new landlord doesn’t try to force them out of their homes.

The 1819 Cornelia Street Tenants Association was created shortly after the property — at 1819 Cornelia St. — was sold at a public auction by the Queens County Office of the Public Administrator in September after the previous landlord died without leaving a will.

According to the Public Administrator, the six-unit, rent-stabilized building was sold for $1.42 million at the Sept. 14 auction. The residents were willing to put up nearly $1 million of their own money to purchase the apartment building and run it as a co-op, but could not make that happen in time.

As cases of new owners buying up properties and illegally evicting longtime residents become more and more prevalent, especially in the Ridgewood area, the 1819 Cornelia Street Tenants Association have come together with the Ridgewood Tenants Union to make sure they remain in their apartments.

“We teamed up with the Ridgewood Tenants Union to fight back and preserve our community since they are fighting for the same cause,” said Hilda Coll-Valentin, a resident on the first floor of the apartment building and member of the building’s tenants association. “The 1819 Cornelia Street Tenants Association meets twice a month to discuss any new developments in the apartment building or apartments, such as [anything that needs] fixing.”

To help bring awareness to the unscrupulous, and often times illegal, tactics of landlords to get longtime tenants out of rent-stabilized buildings, the 1819 Cornelia Street Tenants Association and the Ridgewood Tenants Union are hosting an outreach event on Saturday, Nov. 5, and the March to Keep Ridgewood Livable for All on Saturday, Nov. 19.

“[We want] to let our neighborhood know that tenants have rights,” Coll-Valentin said. “Landlords must be aware that there is a place for the tenants to go for help if they are being harassed by landlords or are forcing false evictions and not to sell out on rent-stabilized apartments which are being bought out by these companies that don’t care about the community; [they] only see dollar signs.”

The march is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 5 outside of 1819 Cornelia St. and will end at 350 St. Nicholas Ave., the site of the AB Capstone 17-story, mixed-used development.

Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who has been at the forefront of preventing wrongful evictions of rent-stabilized tenants in his district, is planning on attending the march to support his constituents.

QNS has reached out to Ridgewood Tenants Union for comment on the march and is awaiting reply.

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