Wednesday, February 06, 2008

bad news for 475 Kent Ave. tenants

Brownstoner has this new update.

After two frustrating weeks, tenants of 475 Kent Avenue finally got to sit down with representatives from the Department of Buildings and the Fire Department on Monday night. And the news wasn't good. To recap: The FDNY ordered the 200-some-odd tenants out last month after a routine inspection of a street-level pipe led to the discovery of an illegal matzo factory being run in the basement by the landlord and assorted other safety violations. On Monday, with the immediate hazard of the basement remedied, the FDNY presented tenants with an extensive punch list of items that have to be brought up to code before anyone is allowed to move back in. According to Councilmember David Yassky, the list would likely take several months to complete, and that's assuming cooperation from the landlord, a big assumption given the value of the building (which is zoned residential but lacks the proper certificate of occupancy) as a potential condo conversion if he were permanently rid of his tenants. "The agencies are setting an alarming and dangerous precedent by keeping residents of 475 Kent out on these relatively small remaining infractions which I imagine many buildings in New York City also have," Yassky said. One idea floated by Yassky is for HPD to exercise its right to make building repairs when derelict landlords refuse to do so. It's unclear whether the necessary political will exists at the city level, so for the time being it appears that 475 Kent's tenants aren’t going allowed back into their old homes anytime soon.

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