The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) reached a settlement agreement with Moshe Stahl and the other owners of four buildings with 159 apartments in one of the earliest cases filed by the Agency’s new Anti-Harassment Unit (AHU).
After months of litigation, the owners agreed to pay $120,000 in civil penalties, correct the remaining immediately hazardous and hazardous violation within 30 days and comply with the City’s tenant harassment laws or subject themselves to further civil penalties.
The owner has already corrected nearly half of the outstanding violations across the four buildings, and HPD continues to monitor compliance with the settlement.
Since HPD established the new Unit in 2019, AHU inspections have resulted in litigation against almost 60 buildings, almost half including claims of harassment. For cases including harassment claims, AHU attorneys have secured more than $212,000 in civil penalties. The Unit has obtained 16 court orders to correct 1,600 violations and end harassment deriving from building conditions for over 462 households. To date, more than 60 percent of the violations at these buildings have been corrected.
“Protecting tenants is essential to our fight to make New York the fairest big city in America. Through HPD’s Anti-Harassment Unit, we have yet another new tool to proactively protect tenants and hold landlords accountable,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll.
“I am proud of our enforcement team’s success in ensuring that residents across the five boroughs have a safe, quality place to call home.”
Last year, AHU began investigating conditions at 31 Mt. Hope Street in the Bronx (pcitured top) when the property had an uptick in violations after a sale to a new owner.
HPD data showed increased complaints and violations for water leaks, lead-based paint hazards, mold and mice, and missing/defective window guards that started shortly after Mr. Stahl purchased the building in 2018.
Building-wide inspections and tenant statements indicated that the owner failed to make timely repairs. The owner also submitted documentation that conditions were corrected, but inspectors verified that those conditions were not corrected for over 75 violations and that 179 immediately hazardous and hazardous violations remained open at the building. The investigation documented similar conditions at three other buildings owned or managed by Mr. Stahl at 2028 Valentine Avenue, 214 East 168 Street and 878 East 176 Street. A total of 675 violations and 154 falsely certified repairs were documented across the four buildings.
“After a lengthy investigation and litigation, the Anti-Harassment Unit (AHU) in the Housing Litigation Division (HLD) achieved a significant victory in one of its earliest cases,” said AnnMarie Santiago, Deputy Commissioner for Office of Enforcement and Neighborhood Services. “Almost half of the outstanding violations across the buildings have been corrected and we will continue to monitor the buildings for compliance. I want to thank the dedicated AHU staff for going above and beyond to protect our city’s tenants.”