The New York Division of Human Rights has filed a complaint against a Corona landlord who, in June, sent letters to tenants demanding they prove they are in the United States legally and threatened to evict them if they didn’t.
A resident at 95-36 42nd Ave. complained to state Senator Jose Peralta about the letter, which told residents they must provide a photo ID, social security card, green card or passport and proof of employment to management.
“P.S., If you fail to comply, your lease will not be renewed, we may have to terminate your lease and may have to evict you from the apartment,” the letter provided to the Daily News read.
The landlord, Jaideep Reddy, said the letter was “wrong” and claimed that it was written by the building’s electrician, Eddie Peralta. Tenants were not allowing him into their apartments to make repairs, which caused frustration, Reddy said.
When contacted by the Daily News, Eddie Peralta argued that “what Trump is doing is right.”
“People need to become legal,” he said. “Look what we do for all these illegal aliens, and what do they do? They commit homicides. They go raping people.”
Soon after the incident, Senator Peralta filed a complaint with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered a statewide, multi-agency investigation into whether other landlords were making the same requests of their tenants.
Then, on June 21, elected officials and city agencies like the NYC Commission on Human Rights gathered at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights for a “Day of Action.” The press conference sought to educate tenants about their rights.
“I was appalled when a constituent came into my office with a letter from a landlord requesting proof of immigration status to his tenants threatening them with eviction if they did not comply,” Peralta said. “As soon as we were alerted of the existence of this unacceptable, racist letter, we immediately notified the state authorities. I am very glad Governor Cuomo took action and investigated the case we uncovered, an investigation that led to the filing of a complaint by the State Division of Human Rights against the Corona landlord.”
It is illegal in New York to require a tenant to provide immigration status information to renew their lease. New York will seek an order requiring Reddy to cease and desist all discriminatory practices, and require him to pay civil fines and penalties to the state.
“We are a nation of immigrants, and New York will not stand by while innocent men and women are targeted and discriminated against,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Make no mistake: this reprehensible behavior is against the law and against what we stand for as New Yorkers and we will use every avenue to stop this, weed out these bad actors and protect the basic rights of tenants across the state.”