From rats roaming every corner to chipping lead paint, no hot water, fire hazard and tenant harassment. These violations are part of 1,900 found in 15 buildings detailed in a lawsuit filed by the City of New York against owner Moshe Piller, described as the “worst landlord in town.”
“Defendants have allowed their buildings to deteriorate to the point where they pose an imminent threat to the health and safety of tenants and the public,” the lawsuit states.
“These buildings and the conditions in them constitute a public nuisance and violate City laws enacted to protect tenants and safeguard buildings,” the lawsuit read.
The lengthy 58-page complaint details conditions in 15 buildings in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx with more than 900 rent-regulated units, according to the documents.
THESE ARE THE LOCATIONS:
- 10-22 Fairview Ave.
- 554-558 W. 191st St.
- 1-9 Jacobus Place
- 10-18 Jacobus Place
- 1-3 Pinehurst Ave., also known as 809 W. 177th Street
- 121-137 E. 18th St.
- 730-760 Rogers Ave.
- 40 E. 17th St.
- 1742-1758 E. 172nd St.
- 1775 Davidson Ave.
- 2501 Davidson Ave.
- 4563-4575 Park Ave.
- 1025 Boynton Ave.
- 2874 Grand Concourse
This is not the first time that conditions in Piller’s buildings have made headlines.
Among the most notorious was the Bronx building where, in 2016, a faulty radiator filled two girls’ rooms with steam, scalding them to death.
The horrific case prompted tenants to file a lawsuit against Piller, DNAinfo reported at the time.
“I’m a mother and it breaks my heart. But it also makes me angry because I know Piller,” Esther Estime told DNAinfo at the time. “Piller doesn’t care what happens to her tenants, and neither does the city.”
But Mayor Eric Adams said in a news release that the city will no longer tolerate such housing conditions.
“The time of landlords openly flouting the law and harassing tenants is over,” Adams said. “This lawsuit sends a clear message that those who break the law will pay.”
The lawsuit against Piller, who owns more than a dozen buildings in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, seeks to fix his properties or face millions of dollars in civil penalties, according to the city.
“For years, Moshe Piller has ignored his responsibilities as a landlord and racked up over 1,900 violations, making him one of the ‘worst landlords’ in the city. Although Piller made millions in profit, his tenants paid the price. Our administration will not allow people to knowingly jeopardize the safety and well-being of their tenants,” Adams said.
Piller is ranked No. 28 on the 2021 Ombudsman’s List of Worst Landlords and has faced heavy criticism from tenant organizations, including the Flatbush Tenants Coalition and the Bronx Tenants Movement.
The lawsuit focuses on the most serious violations, including lead-based paint hazards, the failure of certain doors to automatically close to prevent a fire from spreading further, the safety conditions of elevators, illegal partitions to create new apartments or additional rooms, facade violations, unsafe electrical installations, construction work carried out without permits such as the installation of illegal gas, electrical and plumbing lines, among other violations.
Our sister network NBC 4 New York has attempted to contact Piller for comment and left a message seeking a response, but has so far not offered a position on the lawsuit.