Residents at 1662 White Plains Road have found an helpful partner in dealing with a landlord that the claim is performing illegal work in the basement.
The owner, listed as 1662 Owners LLC on Department of Buildings documents, had two default judgements of Environmental Control Board violations sustained on Friday, February 3 after failing to appear in court on violations related to large vertical and horizontal cracks that may have caused the floor of apartment 3E to sag, and charges stemming from an inspector who observed through an open window that work was being done to partition the basement and remove part of a fire-rated ceiling.
1662 Owners LLC were fined $5,000 for the large cracks and $8,000 for the work in the basement. It was also fined $6,000 for another ECB violation related to a blocked exit way leading from a fire escape to the street on December 16, 2011.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca personally toured the building and met with tenants, who he said suspect that some of the columns supporting the first floor have been removed from the basement as the landlord subdivides it into more living space. Working with the tenants, a stop work order was issued, Vacca said, adding that he personally went to the building and observed the conditions.
“There is now a stop work order,” Vacca said. “The HPD and City of New York will be beginning an action in housing court to demand that repairs take place and that the violations be addressed. We have been successful in getting this building onto the city’s radar screen.”
According to the DOB website, a partial stop work order has been issued, and Vacca said that both the Department of Buildings and Department of Housing Preservation and Development have made the tenant’s concerns a priority.
The tenants and lower Morris Park community activist Joe Bombace reached out to Vacca’s office and Vacca’s housing director Ritchie Torres, who have documented the violations that indicate that work was being done in the basement without a permit, Vacca said. There was a quick determination that no work permit had been issued, and thec ity has repeatedly tried to gain access to the basement of the building, Vacca stated.
There has been lack of action on the part of the landlord, Vacca said. The landlord does not live in the building and is “defiant”, Bombace stated.
“I am not going to quit until this building is brought up to code,” Bombace said.
One tenant in the 17-unit building, who did not wish to be identified, said that the maintenance in the building has gone downhill since it was sold to the present owners about three years ago, and that he has had problems with heat and plumbing.
Calls placed to two men who the tenant said were the owners did not yield comment on the specific allegations.