A group of Brooklyn residents are suing their landlords, claiming they are trying to force them out of their rent-regulated apartments so the landlords can illegally rent out the vacant residences through Airbnb. The New York Daily News reported that the landlords cut off their heat and hot water, constantly harassed them and allowed the units to deteriorate.
On April 16, Digna Doesserie-Mitchel and nine other tenants living at 599, 607, and 611 Flatbush Ave. filed a lawsuit in Kings County Supreme Court in Brooklyn. Those named as defendants in the lawsuit are the landlords — Miriam Shasho, William Shasho, Richard Shasho, and Michelle Shasho — as well as the companies 611 Flatbush Realty Corp. and First Kings Management LLC.
The Daily News reported that the tenants were offered buyouts by the defendants and when they refused, they had their hot water and heat turned off. Meanwhile, the defendants allegedly furnished the newly vacant units so they could rent them out illegally through Airbnb. The lawsuit also claimed that, in addition to living without heat or hot water, they had to live with mold, leaks and damaged floors.
Data from the New York City Building Department showed that the 599 Flatbush Avenue address racked up 45 complaints about illegal conversions of apartment units and rentals and three open violations over noncompliance. 607 Flatbush Avenue had 13 complaints regarding construction without a permit, faulty wiring, unstable floors, and tenant safety issues. The property also has six active DOB violations and five open ECB violations for noncompliance. 611 Flatbush Avenue faced 42 complaints about illegal apartments and rentals and construction being performed without a permit, but only one open ECB violation.
“In the wintertime, I freeze in my own apartment because there’s no heat,” Ms. Doesserie-Mitchel told the Daily News. “How is the landlord going to fix up these other apartments for Airbnb and not maintain the rest of the building? We actually live here. We pay our rent like everyone else.”
If you feel that your rights as a tenant have been violated, contact the skilled New York City landlord-tenant attorneys at the Law Office of Tanya Hobson-Williams. Please contact us online, toll-free (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744 to discuss your rights as a tenant and the solutions available to you.