Tenants at Elizabeth apartment building form union to protest living conditions

The tenants of 19 Pingry Place in Elizabeth formed a union to advocate for their right to a safe living space. Residents said they reported various concerns, including leaks, mold and vermin infestations. But they say building management has disregarded these problems.
The Department of Community Affairs cited the building owners, Pingry Management LLC, in August with 298 code violations. They received a fine and an order to address the concerns, but residents say there have been no substantial repairs.
Sarah Cullinane, a tenant advocate with Make the Road NJ, said the tenants are also seeing rent increases that go beyond Elizabeth's rent control limits.
"Tenants say that the landlord has been increasing the rent more than 3% outside of the bounds of the rent control law," she said.
Cullinane says tenants are worried that they will be unable to stay in their homes as they've seen in similar situations.
"Many tenants are being displaced because their landlords are not making the repairs they need, and they can't pay the higher rent," Cullinane said.
Building management confronted tenants at their protest, asking them to stop protesting in front of the apartments.
They declined to make a statement, but they said they are willing to speak with residents about their concerns.