That is a very common situation among low- income immigrant renters said Regina Rizzo, a volunteer and hotline supervisor for the Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO), a group that represents tenants citywide.
She said many low-income renters, like Guzman, are afraid to seek help out of fear of retaliation.
“They think that calling the city and requesting a building inspector is somehow related to la migra [immigration],” Rizzo said. “Whatever landlord they rent from, they tend to go with somebody who speaks their language.”
But in some cases, she said, those landlords are the ones who threaten to call immigration or to evict them. Rizzo said some of the most common complaints are home repairs and in some cases, the presence of pests like mice, roaches, bedbugs and rats.