Management switch leaves Bronx tenants in the lurch

Some tenants of a building under new management are fighting to keep their money in their pockets, saying the new landlord is unfairly billing them and repairs need to be made.

Rafaela Vega, who recently moved into her apartment at 4289 Park Ave., uses pliers to turn her lights on and off because of exposed outlets. She also has a gaping hole in her bathroom ceiling and broken windows.

Vega claims the apartment didn't look that way when she first saw it. Now she says she's having problems getting in touch with the management.

"They just stuck statements in doors saying 'you owe money,'" Shelia Burks said of the new management company's requests for payments.

Burks pays about $895 a month in rent, but she says the first bill from the new owner claims she owes more than $2,400. Several other residents complain they also received bills for back rent, but they say they paid the old management company, Loran Realty, on time.

The new owner, Ocelet Properties, maintains it inherited the billing information from the old management. Ocelet also says the debt will be cleared when residents provide proof of payment. However, some tenants claim they paid in cash and did not receive receipts.

The new management company says it has only owned the building for two weeks and is working to address complaints.

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