Harbour Point tenants hear from AG

TROY – It was eight weeks ago tonight when more than 100 tenants living at the Harbour Point Gardens Apartment complex in Troy were ordered out of their homes after city officials determined their homes were uninhabitable.

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On Thursday night, several dozen of the ousted tenants gathered in the sanctuary of the Agape Apostolic Church of Deliverance to hear from representatives of the New York State Attorney General’s Office and from Legal Aid Society attorneys.

“My life has been totally turned upside down,” said Eric Spinner, President of the Tenants Association, “From the moment the tenants got thrown out I’ve done everything I can to put in place a safety net as meager as it does exist. It’s a 24/7 operation for me.”

Spinner says he’s fulfilling the responsibilities that some government officials have left unfulfilled.

Now that the state attorney general’s office is investigating the landlord’s role in the fiasco, not to mention the city’s role in evacuating the tenants, the hope is that the situation can be put on a faster track to rectification.

“I understand that they’re frustrated and we’re frustrated as well,” said Robert Romaker, Managing Attorney for the Legal Aid Society. “A lot of times legal recourse is not available or it’s not adequate.”

Troy City Council President Carmella Mantello says at this point she’s neither encouraged nor discouraged, but rather “hopefully optimistic”.

“We’re doing everything humanly possible from our end but having the attorney general involved hopefully will really put some teeth on the landlord and really hold this landlord’s feet to the fire.”

Among the many frustrated and angry tenants, the concerns, the headaches, and the complaints are myriad. Many say they’re still being forced to pay rent even though they’re not allowed in their apartments. Others says they’re having trouble getting their security deposits returned.

“Some are still being charged by National Grid and by Spectrum even though they’re not even living in the apartments,” Mantello points out.

Meanwhile, Spinner says he’d like to say the dialogue that now involves the AG’s office and Legal Aid gives him hope, but he’s reluctant given the many roadblocks that have popped up over the past eight weeks.

Spinner says his hope and expectation is that tenants will be able to begin moving back in — in phases — in about two weeks time.