After putting up with deteriorating conditions for years, a group of tenants in a Brooklyn apartment building is taking their landlord to court. NY1’s Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.
With the tiles disintegrating, cracks zig-zagging along the wall, and the ceiling sagging from water damage, Gloria Campbell says she loathes stepping into her bathroom. But she says she's been forced to live with it because the owners, East 22 Realty will not make repairs.
“Do your job. You want us to pay rent, fix up the place so it's livable,” Campbell said. “We're not animals. We're people.”
Campbell and her neighbors in this 16-unit building in Ditmas Park say they've been living with exposed walls, crumbling floors and chronic water leaks for months. Last August, the Department of Housing and Preservation took the rare step of launching court action against the company, which faces 172 building code violations.
In January, the owner agreed to pay fines – and make repairs by a certain deadline. But the deadline passed and tenants say the only repairs they've seen are renovations to vacant apartments.
NY1 went to the Borough Park home of one of the building's owners, Samuel Fleischman, who refused to speak with the station’s reporter.
But HPD tells NY1 that Fleischman's company has a history of problems. Since 2001, the owner has been billed more than $17,000 for emergency repairs HPD made because East 22 Realty did not.
Campell says the ever-present dust has inflamed her asthma, and that of other tenants.
“You knock on my door, I'll tell you to go someplace else to rent because the landlord doesn't care,” she said.
Now the tenants must go back to court again to ensure the owner makes the repairs it agreed to, and is punished for missing the deadline. The owner could pay up to $125 a day per violation.