We’re constantly on the lookout for “Worst Landlord in Brooklyn” stories, and unfortunately, there are a lot of them. So, so many. But here’s a new doozy of a contender, this time including crazy shaky-cam YouTube videos of attacks on tenants! Oh, good.
Greenpointers has some extensive background on the insane goings-on at 95 Clay St. and other buildings run by notorious slumlord Malina Nealis (pictured above), and the situation has all the hallmarks of other classics in the “nightmare landlord” oeuvre: loss of heat, hot water and gas for 40 days during this brutally cold, wet winter; active obstruction of the Department of Housing (she reportedly changed the locks on the boiler rooms six times to keep inspectors out); construction of illegal buildings on the property. There’s also a long Thought Catalog essay chronicling the time the entire back wall of her building at 156 India St. started crumbling from years of rot and neglect. 95 Clay Street’s got its own Tumblr of Nealis’ violations, to boot.
The maint event here though, is the footage of Nealis attacking tenants seemingly unprovoked. See below:
“Our lawyer suggested that we get video evidence,” explained a tenant who preferred to remain anonymous. “So I saw her on the street and said ‘don’t prevent HPD from coming in the building’ and she just kind went ballistic on me.” Nealis was arrested after the attack in the second video. Unsurprisingly, she’s landed on De Blasio’s watch list of worst New York landlords, and several of her tenants are now on a rent strike while they fight her in court. The goal here is for the city to take over the building, which seems pretty likely. In the interim, a friendly reminder not to rent from Nealis if the opportunity arises, and to go ahead and check that watch list before signing any leases. No one wants to end up peeing in a metal bowl.
Update: Gothamist has a sobering dispatch on the (admittedly significant) incentives for landlords to sabotage their own buildings in a bid to force rent-stabilized tenants out, and how difficult it is for tenants to find any meaningful recourse. This’ll likely be getting worse before it gets better.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.