By Brendan Krisel
UPPER MANHATTAN, NY — Tenants of an Upper Manhattan building claim that their landlord's efforts to modernize the apartment complex's security system are a thinly-veiled attempt at harassment, according to reports and local officials.
Building managers at 765 Riverside Drive, a six-story building located near West 155th Street, installed an electronic key fob system to access the apartment complex's lobby door but are making residents jump through hoops to use it, CBS2 first reported.
Only residents with their names on an apartment lease are approved for a key fob, and residents are being forced to put down a $50 security deposit for the elecronic key, according to the report.
Resident Kazu Hano told CBS2 that he's been living in the building for 50 years, but his wife's name is not on the lease. In order to get her a key fob, Hano had to show a marriage certificate.
"We have one, but they said 'you gotta make a copy and send it to management' and they'll decide whether to give me a key," Hano told CBS2.
City Councilman Mark Levine said that the landlord's key fob policy is in clear violation of city regulations. Rules state that landlords are obligated to provide two keys per apartment and that they are not allowed to charge residents to use them.
"It's part of the playbook of landlords who are trying to push people out," Levine told CBS2.
A spokesman for Levine told Patch that the councilman has connected the building's residents with tenant advocates from the group .
"The next steps would be to communicate with management to find a solution and/or file a complaint with the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)," Levine told Patch.