Complaint Filed Against Landlord For Violations

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The Legal Aid Society has filed a petition against the landlord of this building. 
Photo Courtesy of Google Maps

 

BY ARIEL HERNANDEZ

The Legal Aid Society has filed a petition in Queens Housing Court against a Jamaica landlord who is no stranger to the city Housing Perseveration and Department’s (HPD) violation list.

According to the complaint, Hillside House Management LLC, located at 87-40 165th St. in Jamaica, has allegedly refused to fix a number of problems in the building, forcing the tenants to live with a rodent infestation, but also damaged plumbing, broken elevators and ineffective heating during the winter.

The filing by nine tenants from the building demands that the management and landlord Eric Silverstein fix the living conditions “and any current violations on record of the Housing Maintenance Code, Multiple Dwelling Law, Building Code and other laws and regulations that exist in petitioners’ apartments and in the public areas of the building, and any other conditions that constitute violations of the above-mentioned laws and regulations, within the time required by law.”

The court filing also alleges that Silverstein and the management have harassed tenants and asks that civil penalties be paid to the HPD for those residents who were allegedly harassed.

According to the HPD database, the building had 703 open violations as of May 2, 546 of which are considered B class violations, while another 42 are C class violations.

“Numerous conditions exist in the public areas of the subject building and additionally exist within petitioners’ individual apartments that are dangerous to the health and safety of the tenants and which constitute violations of the Housing Maintenance Code and other laws that regulate housing standards,” the filing reads. “Respondents have been repeatedly notified on these conditions and, in many instances, have personal knowledge of the conditions.”

The conditions listed on the court filing include rats, cockroaches, bedbugs, water leaks in both the lobby and individual apartments, broken walls and chipped paint in the hallways, broken tiles in the hallways, constant boiler breakage, non-tenants loitering and sleeping in the stairwells, regular elevator breakdowns, broken or missing railings in the stairwells, graffiti in stairwells, toxic odors throughout the building, improperly lit hallways and staircases, a defective intercom, unusable mailboxes and much more.

The PRESS of Southeast Queens contacted the building’s management office, but was told by a receptionist that the landlord was not available for comment.

“Our agency will do everything in its power to hold owners accountable,” said a spokeswoman for HPD. “We will continue to closely monitor this property and take actions in the interest of tenant safety.”

According to the HPD’s public online database, the building is currently under the agency’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP), a program that was created for “severely distressed multiple dwellings,” to ensure that hazardous housing maintenance code violations are repaired. If management refuses to conduct the repairs, they will be subject to fees as high as $1,000 per unit.

Hillside House Management was ranked 42nd on Public Advocate Letitia James’ 2017 Landlord Watch list. The next court appearance on the petition will be on June 25. 

Reach Ariel Hernandez at (718) 357-7400 x144, ahernandez@queenstribune.com or @reporter_ariel.

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