Residents continue fight with landlord at Woodmansten Building as Klein steps in

A hole under the sink was left by plumbers in one of the Woodmansten apartments
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

Residents at the Woodmansten building, 1541-51 Williamsbridge Road, are continuing their battle with real estate mogul Mark Scharfman.

On Monday, August 22, residents presented their complaints to Senator Jeff Klein’s office as his representatives went door to door in the building.

Tenants have been upset by recent intrusive repairs and subpar apartment conditions for which they blame the landlord.

Resident Ann Ryan met with the representatives.

Ryan called Scharfman “a criminal” and said she can’t understand how he keeps getting away with his crimes.

The landlord received a violation earlier this summer after Scharfman allegedly falsified documents on a NYC Department of Buildings application for repairs – including electrical and plumbing work – to apartments in the building.

On the application, it stated that the 125-unit building was neither rent stabilized or rent controlled.

In addition, it stated there was no one living in the apartments.

Despite DOB’s violation, work continued.

According to tenants association leader Paulette Sorg, after the violation was issued the landlord filed a corrected application.

Regardless, some residents don’t trust the workers the landlord sends.

Prior to starting work in the building, Scharfman’s employees told residents they must be home to let workers complete the work.

In addition, residents have been threatened with lawsuits if they choose not to let workers in their apartment.

Ryan and Sorg are among some of the residents who, nevertheless, have chosen not to let the workers into their apartment.

“Let them take me to court,” said Sorg.

Some residents are not as bold, but are still upset with the shoddy work that has been done.

One couple, who chose not to give their name, have a toddler at home who was present while some of the plumbing work was done.

They said the dust from the work was dangerous for their daughter.

They had a representative from the city’s health department inspect their home.

In addition to issues with recent repairs, Sorg – a resident of the building for more than 70 years – said there are other long standing issues with the building.

For example, Shavonne Miller, a teacher in Brooklyn, said the elevator continues to be a problem in the building.

According to Miller, at times a resident will leave the building with a working elevator, go shopping, then be forced to carry their groceries up the stairs since the elevator has stopped functioning.

In addition, she said when the elevator breaks down residents leave their trash near the elevator until it works again.

Sometimes, she said, the trash sits in the hallways for days.

She added the building’s conditions have caused some to move and five apartments have been vacated on her floor in the three years she’s been a resident.

Representatives from Klein’s office say they will return for one more visit to canvas apartments then will call a tenant meeting later this year.

Klein has already pushed for an investigation by the NYC Housing Preservation and Development department into the building.

“I am committed to ensuring that these tenants live in dignity and in the peace that they deserve,” said Klein.

Reach Reporter Robert Christie at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at rchristie@cnglocal.com.
A faucet cover is left far from the wall in aWoodmansten apartment
Photo Courtesy of Robert Christie

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