NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dirty and deluged, residents of a neighborhood in Brooklyn say their basements are getting flooded out by an abandoned adjacent home.
Getting someone to shut off the water has so far been a frustrating fight.
The newest water feature in Frank Cusack’s Boerum Hill home isn’t something he ever wanted. Water has been leaking through the basement walls since Saturday, and the homeowner says it’s thanks to the house next door.
“The issue goes back about 25, 30 years when the building was abandoned by the owner,” Cusack told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.
Vacant for all that time, the home on Hoyt Street has no heat and no electricity. In fact, the only tenants of late have been rats.
“We had rodents this summer that were coming through the wall,” Cusack said. He added that finding the person responsible for the property has been next to impossible.
“The building is in bankruptcy and almost being foreclosed, so it’s in some sort of a limbo state,” Cusack said.
A letter on the door says a company named Altisource managed the property. After CBS2 called to ask about the water issue, they said they’d reply within 24 to 48 hours. Another neighbor says the city’s Department of Environmental Protection is already aware of the problem.
“On Saturday, when DEP was out here they said immediately there would’ve been another crew digging out across the street so they could access the shut off valve for the house next door,” neighbor Ed Kopel said. He lives on the other side of the zombie home, and says his basement is taking on more than just water.
“That’s dirt,” he said, pointing to the corner of his basement. “It’s all new because it’s just sediment.”
Kopel said he’s also worried about potential new neighbors. Historically, he says squatters have holed up in the property. With no working lock on the front door, Cusack demonstrated how easy it would be to gain entry.
The Department of Buildings sent a crew to check on the home and secure it after CBS2 called. Still, the water keeps flowing.
“There’s no accountability, we don’t know who to go to,” Kopel said.
The DEP tells CBS2 workers will be at the home overnight into Tuesday to shut off the valve to the broken pipe.