Morrisania tenants sue landlords of South Bronx residence, citing several open violations

The two connected residences that make up 530 and 540 E. 169th St. still have a total of 600 open violations from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), prompting tenants and the Legal Aid Society to file a lawsuit against the buildings’ landlord on Tuesday, April 16, 2024.
Photo Steven Goodstein

Dozens of Morrisania residents from adjacent apartments who claim to have tolerated substandard living conditions for years, have filed a lawsuit against the buildings’ landlords, with assistance from a nonprofit legal aid provider.

On April 16, the Legal Aid Society’s Housing Justice Unit Group Advocacy and 62 tenants who live at the connected high-rise apartment buildings located in the Morrisania neighborhood of the Bronx filed a lawsuit against Fordham Fulton Realty Corporation, headed by Karan Singh and Rajmattie Persuad, who co-own the two South Bronx residences, along with several apartments located throughout the city.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Bronx Housing Court, seeks immediate repairs pertaining to more than 600 open violations from the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

The open violations include leaks in both the apartment units, public hallways and on the property grounds, along with elevator outages, a lack of heat and hot water, a vermin infestation along with other severe conditions occurring in both buildings.

The Bronx Times reached out to Fordham Fulton Realty Corporation for comment and is waiting for a response.

Storm water flooding on the 530 and 540 E. 169th St. property grounds has been also been a major issue inconveniencing tenants at the connected Morrisania residences. Photo courtesy Legal Aid Society

According to the Legal Aid Society, the buildings’ elevators, which serve 17 floors, have been “sporadically” out of service for several years, leaving vulnerable tenants trapped in their homes and unable to leave their apartments.

In an emergency, this could prove to be incredibly dangerous if tenants are forced to evacuate the building, while first responders could also be prevented from providing medical assistance, particularly on higher floors in both buildings.

The Legal Aid Society also confirmed that elderly tenants, as well as families with young children and individuals with disabilities, have been especially impacted by Singh and Persuad’s alleged refusal to have the elevators repaired.

Earlier this year, more than 1,200 HPD violations were placed in the two buildings, and while the amount of violations have decreased by half, especially in the last few weeks, there has not been any increase in repairs, leading tenants to believe that the landlord is falsifying certifications in attempts to “obfuscate the sever nature of the neglect taking place at both buildings, according to the Legal Aid Society.

“The sheer number of open violations is a clear indicator that this landlord is acting in bad faith — and they must be held accountable,” said Zoe Kheyman, staff attorney for the Legal Aid Society’s Housing Justice Unit Group Advocacy. “Our clients and all tenants in the Fordham Fulton Realty buildings have long suffered as a result of their landlord’s neglect and refusal to address the shockingly high number of open violations throughout the buildings.

Both buildings have suffered water damage from previous leaks. Photo courtesy Legal Aid Society

The lawsuit also named the New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), along with HPD, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH).

“We look forward to fighting for our clients, many of whom have lived in (these same) apartments for decades, in order to remedy the dangerous conditions and restore their quality of life,” Kheyman added.

With this lawsuit, The Legal Aid Society is continuing its efforts to help tenants throughout the Bronx who have been forced to live in substandard conditions.

Back in early February, tenants from 1915 Billingsley Terrace, which partially collapsed in December, filed a lawsuit against the building’s landlord, Jay Zinger, on behalf of the Legal Aid Society, to improve living conditions and repairs the Morris Heights residence.

Also in February, the Legal Aid Society, representing 12 tenants, filed a lawsuit against the landlords of 2490 Davidson Ave. for failing to make repairs and neglecting hazardous conditions, including electric system problems as well as failing to maintain the emergency exit door in a “code-compliant manner”, following a fire at the Fordham Manor residence last fall.

In March, the Legal Aid Society and University Heights residents filed a lawsuit against the landlord of 2201-05 Davidson Ave., after the tenants had been forced to live in conditions which included black mold, vermin infestations, water leak, a broken front door lock and an elevator that had been out of service for more than six months. At the time, the Davidson Avenue residence had more than 500 open health and safety violations.

Reach Steven Goodstein at or (718) 260–8326. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes