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Landlords face consequences after subjecting tenants to ‘hazardous’ conditions: ‘If this is not torture I don’t know what is’

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development had 207 violations open with the building as of October 2022 — 107 of which were deemed immediately hazardous.

The building, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant

Photo Credit: iStock

A Brooklyn apartment building’s landlords could potentially be held in contempt of court after failing to make repairs to their crumbling property, Brownstoner reported.

The building, located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, belongs to Lynne Callender, Lamarr Jones, and the Gilmer Holding Corporation (GHC), according to the publication. It is a 19-unit building that has been the subject of legal proceedings since at least 2017.

Initially, the city of New York foreclosed on the building and gave it to a nonprofit for renovations. However, a judge later found that the Third Party Transfer program being used didn’t apply to the property and gave it back.

In 2018, the building’s gas service was disconnected due to a leak, leaving the occupants without cookstoves or heating, Brownstoner reported. That was the same year the property received a violation for crumbling stucco that fell onto a neighboring property. 

In total, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development had 207 violations open with the building as of October 2022 — 107 of which were deemed “immediately hazardous.”

The living conditions reported by tenants are horrible. Tony, a building resident, told Brownstoner, “In the kitchen, there is a big hole management cut to put a plate to hold up the fire escape from falling down, this causes rats, mice, roaches and other insects to enter at [their] convenience.” 

But that’s not all. Tony added, “There’s water stains in the ceiling coming from the radiator above, also cracks in the ceiling … most of all, no gas over three years; if this is not torture I don’t know what is.”

Callender, Jones, and GHC have repeatedly been ordered to correct the many health and safety violations. In June 2022, having already received a Notice of Violation and Default Order to fix the problems, they were ordered to pay $250 per day to the tenants for every day the violations stayed open. They were also ordered to lower the rent and pay the Department of Housing Preservation and Development $300,000.

According to the tenants, none of that happened as of the Brownstoner report. 

Lorna Holder told Brownstoner that the landlords blamed the ongoing gas leak on the plumber they hired to fix it — but the landlord had never even applied for permits for the pipes being installed. 

That kind of unpermitted work could lead to even more leaks, which threaten residents’ health and potentially release heat-trapping methane gas into the atmosphere.

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