A Hartford landlord of about 30 properties has lost his contract with the federal government to provide subsidized housing.
Emmanuel Ku was notified of the termination Thursday, and city and local leaders applauded the move to end the federal government’s relationship with who they describe as a “slumlord.”
Tenants like Josh Serrano, who have been complaining and fighting for better living conditions for years, said the news was welcome.
“We do not deserve to live like this. Our children do not deserve to live like this. My child does not deserve to live like this,” he said during a press conference steps from a Fairmount Street apartment building owned by Ku.
NBC Connecticut’s efforts to reach Ku, whose office is in the Bronx, were unsuccessful.
The buildings have been the subject of numerous local and federal complaints and investigations. They were found to have broken windows, doors, rodents inside, and bathrooms with substandard plumbing and hygenic conditions.
He previously told the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters last year that the issues with rodents, specifically, were the result of a nearby building being demolished. He also said he had tenant meetings.
Those tenants, however, said their concerns were never taken seriously.
Hilma Jones, who has been a tenant of one of Ku’s buildings for 28 years, said, “I pay my rent every month and it’s not right and I have a disability and sometimes they don’t care.”
Congressman John Larson (D) was happy to see some justice for the people who live in the buildings, and said he hopes Ku does not appeal the decision by HUD.
“It’s a long process,” Larson said. “Our country is based on laws, but hopefully Mr. Ku gets the message here and does the right thing.”
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said similar landlords should consider themselves placed on notice.
“We’re not going to tolerate slumlords who are just trying to come in, exploit families, extract wealth, make a buck off of substandard housing," he said.
“Now that HUD has revoked Ku’s contract, they must work expeditiously to ensure each and every displaced tenant has safe and affordable housing—tonight,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D).