A group of south Bronx tenants have had enough with a landlord that they say is neglectful.
Residents of 1485 Macombs Road rallied outside Bronx Housing Court at 1118 Grand Concourse prior to launching a lawsuit against landlord Robert Khomari, the second one against the 49-unit building’s landlord in two years.
The Mount Eden tenants are demanding action in fixing what a representative of the tenants called “hazardous and demeaning living conditions threatening the health and safety of their families.”
Some of those conditions in the prewar complex are spelled out in the current 190 open housing violations issued to the prewar Macombs Road property by the NYC Housing Preservation and Development.
Meanwhile, three of the building’s eight gas lines are not functioning and several tenants have been without cooking gas for nine months, according to Community Action for Safe Apartments, who’s assisting the tenants in court.
The tenants’ complaints include inconsistent access to elevators in the six-story building, light outages and overall building-wide maintenance.
“Many tenants are spending their own money to maintain their homes in order to live in safe apartments,” the spokesperson said.
While these residents were granted a rent reduction by the NYS Division Housing and Community Renewal, Khomari and his team have not honored the rent reductions for many tenants nor have they complied in offering lease renewals, CASA says.
Tenants have also been offered buy-outs by the landlord, which has struck concern due to the recent rezoning of Jerome Avenue and the anticipated cost of living rise that’s anticipated.
Greg Baltz, one of the attorney’s on the case against Khomari and Macombs Place LLC explained how these allegations against the property’s management are legally defined within the expanded definition of tenant harassment.
“These people have been dealing with harassment for years,” Baltz said, detailing how gas outages have been occurring since 2018 as well as how necessary, city mandated repairs have also not been complied with.
The tenant’s previous suit from 2017 was discontinued when repairs were addressed and conditions improved in the building during the court proceedings, Baltz also explained.
That suit alleged a lack of heat and hot water, water pipe leaks, mold, broken appliances, collapsing ceilings, a broken intercom, poor hallway lighting, broken mailboxes ands rodent and roach infestations.
Although, this time Baltz and his legal team aren’t positive whether or not that will be the result from the new lawsuit.
“The tenants of this building asked us to push as hard as we can to keep the case in court,” Baltz said.
They also united to form a tenants association in the building to put pressure on Khomari to keep up with the legal standards of maintaining the property as well.
Baltz said that the lawsuit was “only one way to have the landlord live up to his legal obligations,” mentioning that the tenants association was another major step to keeping the management in check. Citywide, Khomari runs and owns 36 residential properties, 33 of which are in the southwest Bronx.
The next court date for this case is on Friday, June 7 when Baltz and his firm will attend a pre-trial hearing.
Calls to Macombs Place LLC were not returned.