Calls lack of clarity on when tenants can return home ‘unacceptable’; urges expedited granting of necessary permits, inspections to speed up repairs

CITY HALL – Today, Council Member Margaret S. Chin urged the City to release a clear deadline for the return of 29 families at 85 Bowery who were forced to evacuate their homes in January after a court-ordered inspection by the Department of Buildings discovered dangerous structural issues in their building.

“Five months after their displacement, 85 Bowery tenants continue to suffer with zero reassurance on when they can return home,” said Council Member Chin. “I am requesting that city agencies clear the way for repairs to be completed on an emergency basis by expeditiously approving all necessary after-hours variances, inspections and other actions needed for their return. We must take decisive action to put an end to this nightmare for tenant families by giving the clarity that they demand and deserve.”

In a letter sent today to the Deputy Mayor for Operations, Laura Anglin, Council Member Chin requested that a firm deadline for the completion of all remaining work be set and communicated to the tenants, and urged the Administration to commit to a process that would allow for the tenants to move home at the earliest possible opportunity.

This morning, tenants rallied outside of 85 Bowery claiming that their landlord, Joseph Betesh, is backtracking on his promise to return families home by August 31. In response, the landlord’s representatives claim that no such agreement was made – highlighting the need for the city to step in and provide a clear deadline in order to hold Betesh responsible.