Cornfeld Tenants Association (CTA) works to improve housing conditions for residents in properties owned by Arthur Cornfeld and Alan Fisher in New York City (aka ABC Properties, ABC Realty, and many other LLCs). Our concerns are both in terms of tenants’ rights and our right for security and equity. Goal? To ensure our voices are heard and to stop our landlord from further endangering our safety and our lives.
Estrella v Arthur Cornfeld: Injured while replacing a
79 A.D.3d 1536 (N.Y. App Div. 2010)
Malone Jr., J.
Claimaint, a painter and
handyman, was injured in 2004 when he fell from a ladder while replacing a ceiling. He commenced a personal injury
action against, among others, the owner of the building where he was injured,
Broadway 69 Associates. Broadway 69 asserted an affirmative defense that
claimant was its employee and that workers’ compensation benefits constituted
his sole remedy against it (see Workers’ Compensation Law 11, 29). The issue of
employer-employee relationship was then raised in this workers’ compensation proceeding
and, following hearings, a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge (hereinafter WCLJ)
determined that claimant was employed by the management company that maintained
the building, not Broadway 69. Broadway 69 sought review and attempted to
submit new evidence to the Workers’ Compensation Board regarding the distinctions
between it and the management company. The Workers’ Compensation Board declined
to consider the new evidence and affirmed. Broadway 69 appeals and we affirm.
Initially, Broadway 69
complains of the Board’s refusal to consider the evidence belatedly submitted by
it, but Broadway 69 was required to “explain the failure to previously offer
such evidence and it is within the discretion of the Board to ‘deny review and
refuse to consider such new or additional evidence if it finds that such
evidence could and should have been presented to [WCLJ]” (Matter of Husak v New York City Tr. Auth., 40 AD3d 1249, 1250,quoting 12 NYCRR 300.13[g]. While Broadway
69 asserted that the parties never considered the management company to be a potential
employer, the WCLJ placed the parties on notice that she was considering that
possibility and, as such, the Board did not abuse its discretion in determining
that the additional evidence could and should have been submitted earlier.
ABC Properties aka Broadway 69 aka 2020 Broadway Associates aka Arthur Cornfeld aks Alex Cornfeld aka Fisher Assocciates aka ABC Realty weaseled their way out of this lawsuit by claiming that they did not "employ" the worker.
This apartment is currently being offered by Immac Realty at 143 West 69 Street (Apt #1C). The "asking rent" is $2750.
DO NOT RENT THIS APARTMENT.
Take some time to read through this blog.
Also note: this apartment aside from all the issues with the owner and hazardous conditions in the building, is right above Noi Due restaurant rat infestation area.
Renting this apartment will insure you get no sleep - since you will be awakened by the noise of the people who work in the restaurant till 2am. Then you will be awakened from the noise of the food delivery people who begin to arrive in the alley at 5am.
If you need little sleep, can live with noise, can live with a rat infestation, can live with leaks, mold, and the occasional ceiling collapse, then you should pay the over-inflated rent.
Apartment used to be a rent stabilized unit. It was taken off rent stabilization in ways that are less than honest.
Why do you think the apartment is available? The people ran away at the end of their lease term.
Most people who live here leave quickly.
This is what the owners want. Pay them money, move out, raise the rent, pay them money, move out.
Oh, one more thing: it was just "renovated" -- so on the surface it will look like a deal.
Once you move in you will see that NOTHING works.
Like a movie set.
You will regret your decision to a) pay a broker commission b) pay for a move c) sign a lease.
Find another place and then research the owner/landlord/management company like hell (avoid ABC Properties and their affiliates at all cost).
Renovated "rat trap" | Renter Beware 143 West 69 Street #1C
Photo taken on April 19, 2018 from same Duplex Apartment. See roof deck. Tenant claims roach infestation under the deck. Also on the side is standing pool of water which continues to leak into apartment. Tenant has made numerous requests to ABC Properties. No response after several months.
This is a screen image of an HPD report showing leaks in the "H" line.
There are other reports of leaks, fallen ceilings, mushrooms growing and people moving out of their apartments based on the:
1. non-response by management ABC Properties and owner(s) Arthur Cornfeld, Alex Cornfeld (et.al)
2. faulty repairs (shoddy repair work is equivalent to "no" repair work
3. denial of leaks by ABC Properties
Our five story rental building has had this 15,000 lbs HVAC complex system braced on the sides of our building at 143 West 69 Street since 2009.
In 2009 our landlord changed the use of the basement space to commercial spaces, including a restaurant.
The pipes for the HVAC unit are connected from our building to our sister building at 2020 Broadway. (see photos).
Both buildings have issues.
A load bearing wall has begun to buckle in one of the 5th floor apartments. TOP FLOOR beneath the HVAC.
The HVAC unit blocks the fire escapes on the roof.
The HVAC unit continues to damage the roof and the apartments with condensation (it does not seem to us that the unit is maintained properly.)
Some of our ceilings have collapsed and some of us have damaged ceilings, water damage, mold, mushrooms, dark spots on the ceiling and ceiling boards that are widening. In addition to hardwood floors that are getting separated, floor tiles in the common areas that are popping out.
WE WANT TO KNOW IF YOU CAN HELP US / TENANTS / DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT IT IS SAFE TO LIVE HERE.
WE WANT TO KNOW WHETHER OR NOT THIS STRUCTURE SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE TOP OF OUR BUILDING.
WE WANT TO KNOW WHO TO CONTACT SHOULD WE REQUIRE HELP TO GET THE HVAC SYSTEM REMOVED FROM THE BUILDING.
As can be seen by the photo, the pipes snake down the sides of the building (painted in a different color), and then cross the alley and connect into our sister building (2020 Broadway).
The building on the left is 143 West 69 Street and the building on the right is 2020 Broadway. The pipes are connected to the HVAC unit on the roof of 143 West 69 Street (a five story building).
Photo of alley in between the two buildings showing the pipes.
One of five firefighters on April 24, 2018 on roof of 143 West 69 Street
Photo of 15,000 lb HVAC sitting on 143 West 69 Street. Photo taken from 2020 Broadway in 2015.
Five firefighters arrived late yesterday afternoon at approximately 5:30pm.
Their findings were inconclusive and they told me that they are reaching out to another agency to get clarification on the roof and the structural issues. They said engineers need to look at it and they are getting someone to come over to building #143.
Meanwhile, I have attached two photos.
One taken yesterday of one of the firemen.
Please note: does he not see the HVAC system blocks the rear fire escapes?
Corner of the bedroom in Apt #5G (load bearing wall). Yard measuring stick placed on top of short armoire. Crack goes up to ceiling. April 24, 2018 7:04am.
Crack on load bearing wall in bedroom #5G.
Cracked load bearing wall. Corner of bedoom #5G. Reported to landlords and to their managing agent, Jozef Zagreda multiple times.
DOOR FRAME OFF HINGES in Apt #5G (top floor beneath water logged roof with 15,000 lbs HVAC unit >>
Door frame loose apt #5G (under roof)
4th floor tiles. 143 West 69 Street
5th floor tiles in front of apt #5G (and similar on opposite side of hallway, basically the "tension" areas on the sides of the building where the HVAC sits).
5th floor dropped tiles. Some of our apartments have lost over an inch on one side of our walls.
5th floor tiles dropped
HVAC on roof of 143 West 69 Street with pipes (see red then painted black on sides of building) connecting to sister building 2020 Broadway.
April 19, 2018 Inspector from NYC Department of Housing and Preservation told me: "Roof is ready to go." Stated he was issuing landlord, ABC Properties an "IMMEDIATE REPAIR notice."
Photo taken when inspector was on roof of 143 West 69 Street on April 17, 2018. Continued condensation on roof. Non-repairs by landlord who said: "Kirby, the roof is now more damaged, move to another apartment." Tenant harassment. Unlawful eviction of a tenant. Breach of Warranty of Habitability, Breach of right to quiet enjoyment, tenant harassment, tenant endangerment, Hazardous conditions for both 2020 Broadway and 143 West 69 Street.
Hallway of Apt #5G (right below roof) and damage to ceilings, walls.
Damage to closet in Apt #5G. Landlord has been told about this for years. Failure to maintain. Roof leaks, mold, intentional neglect, tenant harassment.
As per NYC Department of Housing and Preservation website
It is illegal for building owners to force tenants to leave their apartments or surrender their rights. If you are a tenant in a rental unit in the City who is being harassed by your landlord, you can get information and help. If you are a low income tenant and/or a senior, you may be eligible for free or low-cost legal assistance.
Harassment is any act or omission by or on behalf of an owner that (i) causes or is intended to cause any person lawfully entitled to occupancy of a dwelling unit to vacate such dwelling unit or to surrender or waive any rights in relation to such occupancy, and (ii) falls into a category of acts or omissions identified in the law. Tenants can initiate an action in Housing Court based on a claim of harassment (see more on how you can get assistance with these cases below in Seek Legal Assistance).
The Court is to presume that certain acts or omissions in a multiple dwelling were intended to cause such person to vacate such dwelling unit or to surrender or waive any rights in relation to such occupancy, unless the property owner can provide satisfactory evidence otherwise. There are civil penalties which can be assessed against a property if Housing Court determines that there has been harassment. The Court may also award compensatory damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs and/or punitive damages.
Generally, acts of harassment can include:
Not offering leases or lease renewals, or repeatedly trying to pay you to move out of your home or to give up your rights ("a buyout") if you are a rent-regulated tenant.
Offering you a buyout:
While threatening you, intimidating you or using obscene language.
By contacting you at your place of employment without obtaining your written permission.
While providing false information in connection with the buyout offer.
Contacting you about a buyout unless they provide you with the following information in writing:
The purpose of the contact and that the contact is on behalf of the owner.
That you can reject the offer and continue to live in your home.
That you have a right to seek advice from a lawyer and may seek information on the HPD website about legal services.
That, if you advise the owner in writing that you do not want to be contacted about any buyout offer, the owner cannot contact you about it for 180 days unless you advise the owner in writing at some earlier time that you are interested in discussing a buyout, or unless the Court permits the owner to discuss a buyout offer with you.
Contacting you about a buyout offer for 180 days after you have notified the owner in writing that you do not want to be contacted about it.
Unjustified eviction notices or illegal lockouts.
Threats and intimidation, such as late-night phone calls including phone calls to encourage or ask you to move out of your home or give up your rights.
Overcharging for a rent-regulated apartment.
Failure to provide necessary repairs or utilities.
Deliberately causing construction-related problems for tenants, such as working after hours, blocking entrances, conducting work without a permit, or failing to remove excessive dust or debris.
Repeated interruptions of essential services, such as heat, water, or electricity.
Providing you with misleading information regarding the unit occupancy status or violations; making a false statement or misrepresentation as to a material fact regarding the current occupancy or the rent stabilization status of a building or dwelling unit on any application or construction documents for a permit for work.
Repeatedly contacting or visiting any person lawfully entitled to occupancy or such unit during non-business hours when the tenant has not indicated a willingness to have such contact or visit.
Commencing a baseless or frivolous court proceeding against a person lawfully entitled to occupancy of such dwelling unit if there is a pattern of such proceedings in a building.
Mayor de Blasio has created a program to provide legal assistance to low-income tenants who are being harassed by landlords who are trying to take advantage of zoning changes by getting rid of tenants. If you are a resident in one of the following Zip codes, you can call the New York City Tenant Protection Hotline at (917) 661-4505, Mon – Fri: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM:
Bronx: Zip Codes 10452 and 10453
Brooklyn: Zip codes 11207, 11208, 11212, and 11233
Manhattan: Zip codes 10029 and 10035
Queens: Zip codes 11101, 11354, and 11358
Staten Island: Zip codes 10301 and 10304
New York City also continues to provide free legal service assistance for qualified tenants throughout the City. Residents can call the following legal service providers for more information:
Housing Court Answers also provides information about Court procedures, landlord/tenant rules and regulations, enforcement of housing code violations, referrals for free legal help, and referrals to community organizations that help with housing problems. HCA is present in each borough's Housing Court, and can be reached on its hotline at 212-962-4795 from Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00am-5:00pm.
Report an Issue
Report dangerous conditions or lack of services through 311.City agencies will protect tenant rights by enforcing building and housing code compliance, conducting inspections, and issuing violations when appropriate. Tenants can use the reporting of a complaint and issuance of any subsequent violations to support either a Housing Court or a New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) action regarding harassment.
If a court of competent jurisdiction finds harassment, the court may issue an order restraining the owner of the property from continuing to harass the tenant. A civil penalty of $1,000-$10,000 may be imposed for each dwelling unit in which a tenant or any person lawfully entitled to occupancy of such unit has been harassed. If the tenant/legal occupant establishes that there was a previous finding of harassment against such owner and the finding was made within the preceding five year period after March 29th, 2015, the court shall impose a civil penalty in an amount between $2,000-$10,000.
Under Local Law 47 of 2014, HPD will post on its website the addresses of buildings where there has been a finding of harassment by a court of competent jurisdiction, when the agency receives such information. The list includes the name of the respondent, the civil penalty imposed in the case, and the date such penalty was imposed. Report of Harassment Findings
The Tenant Protection Plan (TPP) provides a list of compliance categories that must be met by a building or site of a new building, if the building undergoing construction contains at least one occupied dwelling unit. The TPP works to safeguard the building occupants and covers six categories.
The TPP can be found in the NYC Administrative Code: §28-104.8.4 Tenant Protection Plan. Construction documents for alterations of buildings in which any dwelling unit will be occupied during construction shall include a Tenant Protection Plan. The plan shall contain: a statement that the building contains dwelling units that will be occupied during construction, indicating in sufficient detail the specific units that are or may be occupied during construction; the means and methods to be employed to safeguard the safety and health of the occupants; and where applicable, include details such as temporary fire-rated assemblies, opening protectives, or dust containment procedures.
Owners are required to notify the Department 72 hours before beginning work in a building with a TPP. The elements of the TPP may vary depending on the nature and scope of the work but at a minimum shall make detailed and specific provisions for:
Egress. At all times in the course of construction provision shall be made for adequate egress as required by this code and the tenant protection plan shall identify the egress that will be provided. Required egress shall not be obstructed at any time except where approved by the commissioner.
Fire Safety. All necessary laws and controls, including those with respect to occupied dwellings, as well as additional safety measures necessitated by the construction shall be strictly observed.
Health Requirements. Specification of methods to be used for control of dust, disposal of construction debris, pest control and maintenance of sanitary facilities, and limitation of noise to acceptable levels shall be included. 3.1. There shall be included a statement of compliance with applicable provisions of law relating to lead and asbestos.
Compliance with Housing Standards. The requirements of the New York City Housing Maintenance Code, and, where applicable, the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law shall be strictly observed.
Structural Safety. No structural work shall be done that may endanger the occupants.
Noise Restrictions. Where hours of the day or the days of the week in which construction work may be undertaken are limited pursuant to the New York City noise control code, such limitations shall be stated.
Maintaining Essential Services. Describe the means and methods to be used for maintaining heat, hot water, cold water, gas, electricity, or other utility services in accordance with the requirements of the New York City Housing Maintenance Code. Specify if a disruption of any such service is anticipated during the work, including anticipated duration of such disruption and the means and methods to be employed to minimize such disruption, including the provision of sufficient alternatives for such service during such disruption.
Note: Other requirements – Any additional requirements to assure tenant safety during construction.
Where can I find the TPP?The TPP is required to appear on plans submitted to the Department whenever a unit in a residential building is occupied during construction. It must be posted on the cover page of the plans (drawings) associated with the permit.
Where can I find a copy of the plans? Plans are accessible for review in the Department’s Borough Offices where the permitted construction work is planned. Who can I contact if I have a question or concern about a TPP? You may contact the Office of the Buildings Marshal at (212) 393-2930 or DOBMarshal@buildings.nyc.gov
Bronx Borough Office 1932 Arthur Avenue, 5th Floor Bronx, NY 10457