NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Some Brooklyn tenants claim their landlord is discriminating against them and trying to force them out of their rent-stabilized apartments to collect higher rents from younger, white tenants.
Black tenants of Homewood Gardens Estates in the Prospect Lefferts Garden neighborhood have filed a federal lawsuit against the complex and owner Yeshaya Wasserman.
They allege the landlord failed to make repairs and seldom cashed rent checks in a scheme to evict them from their rent-controlled apartments.
“He fails routinely to cash rent checks and then turns around and sues plaintiffs for allegedly not paying their rent,” attorney Pavita Krishnaswamy said.
Residents claim white and Asian tenants don’t face the same treatment, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“He allows them to go downstairs to pay their rent and when we call him and ask him can we come downstairs, [he says] ‘No, you’re not allowed to come down there,'” said Marketta Bell, who’s lived there for 11 years.
Bell said Wasserman also took her to housing court and told a judge that she owns a pit bull, but she actually owns a dachshund.
One woman who’s lived there 14 years said she’s gone without hot water since Friday and the landlord has yet to respond to a repair request.
Residents said 20 families have moved since Wasserman took over the building a few years ago and students moving in to the building are being gouged, and paying double.
“Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, these neighborhoods are experiencing tremendous amounts of developments, gentrification,” Krishnaswamy said. “These are all rent-regulated apartments where our clients have lived for years paying affordable rents.”
Homewood Gardens Estates said Wasserman won’t be back in the office to respond to questions about the lawsuit until Wednesday.
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