Housing Dept. says Jamaica bldg. stinks

Tenant Amy Anderson shows photos of sewage damage that was done to the basement of her Jamaica apartment building. Photo by Ivan Pereira
By Ivan Pereira

One of Jamaica’s worst-kept buildings has been hit with another violation for a broken sewer pipe and the city had a long ordeal last week getting the stench out of the rent-stabilized space.

The city Department of Housing Preservation and Development repaired the problems in the basement of 88-22 Parsons Blvd. over the weekend and cleaned out the mess Monday following a back-and-forth fight between HPD and the landlord Avi Feder, the agency said.

On April 1, the agency issued two violations for the overflow and tried to send their own crews to fix the problem after the owner of the building failed to rectify the situation, but the super refused to give them entry, according to an HPD spokesman. HPD representatives went to Housing Court last week to seek an order from a judge to go into the building following more complaints from tenants, but Feder offered them access and they withdrew the order, a spokesman said.

“We were informed that our contractor was able to clear the stoppage and the landlord did not interfere with the work,” HPD spokesman Eric Bederman said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The sewage was cleared Sunday, but needed jet cleaning to clear away residue of the mess, according to Bederman.

The sewage problem is part of a long line of violations issued against Feder, who has been placed on the city public advocate’s worst landlord list.

Several tenants, including longtime resident Amy Anderson, have filed complaints against Feder with HPD, the city Department of Buildings and elected officials for years, but the landlord consistently refuses to make repairs. The building currently has eight open DOB violations and 23 city Environmental Control Board violations for aspects such as a broken elevator and poor plumbing, according to DOB records.

Anderson said things have been getting worse since a new super moved in in December and he has been slow in responding to complaints. Feder has blamed the sewage problems on the sewers. HPD, however, has said that the problem is with the building’s sewage pipes alone.

“It is one excuse after another. I’m here 66 years, how can you be that disgraceful?” Anderson asked.

Feder could not be reached for comment, but a man who claimed to work for him was at the building Monday. He refused to comment as he stood outside the building smoking a cigarette while crews cleaned up the sewage.

A spokesman for HPD said the agency has spent more than $18,000 over the last nine years making emergency repairs to the building, which is rent-stabilized.

Aside from the court action on the sewage problems, HPD’s Housing Litigation Division has given support to two tenants’ cases against the landlord, the spokesman said.

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Community Board 12 have helped the tenants in the past and Anderson said she hopes HPD can follow through and fix their homes.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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