Stories about horrific New York landlords seem to be gaining steam lately, and now that more media outlets are looking for them, more and more crop up every day. Sort of like turning on the lights to scatter the cockroaches in one of the apartments run by these people, we’d imagine! So, two more stories to add to the “worst landlords in Brooklyn” pile.
First, NY1 has a story, complete with jaw-dropping video, of a building in East New York that’s long since lost heat and water (tenants rely on gas stoves and bottled water to solve those respective problems), and suffered from a leak severe enough that it caused the roof to partially cave in. A lot of the tenants stopped paying rent ages ago but it doesn’t seem to have incentivized landlord Raizel Weiser—who now owes the city about $155,000 for repairs its done—to have done anything other than abandon the building entirely. Maybe the saddest part of the whole thing is when one tenant told the news station, “”It was a beautiful building when I moved in [a decade ago]. It was renovated. It was beautiful. Nice, cozy.”
Elsewhere, yet another Bushwick landlord has been accused of essentially destroying their own building with so-called “renovations” in a bid to push out longtime tenants and start charging at the neighborhood’s astronomical market rates. “They didn’t warn me of anything; they didn’t’ advise me of anything,” said Silveria Hormigo, who was evacuated from her rent-stabilized apartment at 324 Central Ave without notice as crews came in and demolished her bathroom and kitchen. Landlord Aaron Israel also went ahead and got rid of her children’s beds by the time she returned.
His brother, Joel Israel, has also been in the news recently for similar tactics at his buildings in Bushwick and Greenpoint, and Public Advocate Letitia James told NBC, “Joel Israel is one of the worst landlords in the city. I won’t let these families go to court without my support. We will make sure they are in appropriate safe housing.”
It’s nice to see the city going after this kind of thing, for sure, but also deeply disturbing to think how many other people across the city who can’t afford to move and haven’t managed to garner any media attention are suffering under similar conditions. Let’s go ahead and keep the public shaming coming.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.