Decline At Greer’s Edgewood “Village”?

Christopher Peak PhotoSince moving into a third-floor apartment on Elm Street this spring owned by a nonprofit landlord previously known for stabilizing the Edgewood neighborhood, Adam Kelley has repeatedly asked the property manager to repair several unhinged windows, a brown water stain in the ceiling and a mouse infestation.

Kelley said he hasn’t been able to get the problems fixed — despite the fact that, in his case, the handyman lives just two floors below.

Kelley is among a number of renters in New Haven’s Edgewood neighborhood who said they have watched the landlord let historic properties fall into disrepair.

While fending off suspect fees and eviction threats, the renters have been dealing with sewage backups, rotting staircases, buckling walls, felled trees and other issues that the landlord has taken months to fix. And they aren’t even sure whether they’ll be able to stay long-term, as a federal court case threatens to shift control to a new owner.

Through a consortium of six nonprofit organizations, the 53 rental properties, many of them multi-family houses, are all controlled by Daniel Greer, a prominent rabbi who built an Orthodox community and renovated dozens of homes around a yeshiva at Elm and Norton streets. The renovations preserved historical homes and for years helped stabilize and strengthen a diverse urban neighborhood that had been in decline.

Then two former students accused Rabbi Greer of sexual abuse. And the dream began collapsing.

In a civil case last year, a jury awarded $21.75 million in damages to Eliyahu Mirlis, who said Greer molested him from 2002 to 2005. Greer is now facing criminal charges for the alleged sexual assault after police found that Mirlis accurately described details of Greer’s naked body.

Out on bond, Rabbi Greer is fighting in court to keep control of his 53 rental properties, which are primarily concentrated on Elm, Norton, Pendleton and Ellsworth Streets, along with the yeshiva, his home and two pieces of undeveloped land, cumulatively appraised by the city at $13.47 million.

Serena Neal-Sanjurjo, who runs New Haven’s anti-blight agency, the Livable City Initiative (LCI), said her agency is keeping an eye on the situation: “We are currently undergoing inspections of residential properties. We are monitoring and responding to referrals as they are received.”

Meanwhile, the Board of Alders just helped Greer seek more money — government-approved money — to flow through the six nonprofits, in the form of state Neighborhood Assistance Act grants.

Greer did not respond to efforts to obtain comment for this story. Antonio Ponvert, Mirlis’s attorney, declined to comment.

Greer’s attorney, David Grudberg, told the Independent that the suggestion that Greer “is neglecting these properties is dead wrong, and is very upsetting. He’s devoted decades of his life to reviving the neighborhood and will continue that good work. Even his harshest critics recognize the great work he’s done.”

Grudberg said problems reported to LCI have been relatively minor compared to problems found at many other properties in town. And the nonprofit entities that legally own the properties have invested “many thousands of dollars” to upgrade them.

“That commitment remains as strong as ever,” Grudberg said. “Any suggestion of decline, or lack of interest, is simply false.”

Abandoned by friends and family and former students and stalwarts of the religious services at his yeshiva, Greer is refusing to surrender. He found new students from out of state to learn at the yeshiva. He’s fighting his criminal case and possible long prison sentence. He’s fighting orders to turn over property from the civil case. And he’s struggling to keep his “village” intact.

For people living in the Edgewood neighborhood, a lot hinges on that last effort.

On The Precipice

Beginning in the 1980s, Greer bought up neglected historic homes and renovated them, while keeping nuisance businesses out of the Whalley Avenue commercial corridor and exposing johns who patronized street prostitutes in the area. He and his organization even launched an armed “defense” patrol with the Guardian Angels to combat crime. His success inspired people in other neighborhoods to do the same. His son Eli Greer worked hard in recent years to manage and maintain the group’s rental properties to anchor the neighborhood and reverse past decline.

Since Rabbi Greer’s legal problems surfaced two years ago, his sons left the organization. Now some tenants report a marked difference after the sexual abuse scandal roiled the close-knit religious community centered at the yeshiva. They say that upkeep has largely stopped.

“He’s one step above a slumlord,” said one renter.

As with many of the dozens of other neighbors whom the Independent interviewed, the renter requested anonymity to speak about his housing conditions because he feared retaliation. Several of Greer’s tenants have been served with eviction papers and taken to housing court. In some cases, they missed a payment, but in others, their 12-month lease simply ran out.

Tenants said that they struggle to get problems fixed. “It’s on the list,” they said they hear repeatedly.

“It’s stressful,” one said. “They raise the rent and do no improvement.” Another described it as “frustrating” and “exhausting.”

Contributed PhotoKelley said that it usually takes “several follow-up calls” before anything gets done. For the $900 rent in a pretty neighborhood, he says he can deal with all the problems, though he plans to move out when his lease is up.

Often, management appears to send hired hands from the neighborhood, rather than professionals. A hole in Kelley’s wood floorboards was puttied over, leaving an unsightly splotch in the hallway. One couple said a plumber put their sink in backward, mixing up the hot and cold taps.

“They say they’ll refer complaints to the ‘Maintenance Department.’ There is no Maintenance Department,” one tenant said. “They’re always talking about it as if there’s other people, but there’s nobody qualified running it.”

The deferred maintenance became painfully obvious to tenants this winter, as storms battered their houses.

At one property, a wooden fence warped, almost coming loose in places. But that didn’t surprise the tenant. A section of fencing had toppled into his neighbor’s yard more than a year ago. (It was still blocked off with orange netting last week.) Someone did come to attach metal posts to the most topsy-turvy sections. Compared to the concrete-reinforced posts a team had labored over years ago, this new work looked shoddy. The workers said they’d be temporary, but they haven’t come back.

Other tenants, including Kelley, reported that their windows don’t fit their casings, blasting them with icy air in the winter. The handyman tried to secure Kelley’s windows by hammering nails into the wall to keep them from falling in. One household tapes over the windows with sheeting, melting the plastic with a blow-dryer to seal out the wind.

Sometimes, the problems are more extreme, but residents say they’re still not handled with urgency.

In one case, a broken pipe caused sewage to leak throughout the basement of 830 Elm St. As soon as tenants discovered the half-inch of toilet paper and feces pooling on the floor, they called management. A full day passed before someone showed up to clean the floor and fix the leak.

But their repairs didn’t hold. Waste slowly seeped out again. But this time, no one showed up to for six weeks. The renters told management they were leaving. Last week, a worker was cleaning the place up for new tenants to move in.

“It’s a tragedy for the neighborhood and for New Haven,” one resident observed.

The most recent action taken by city government came Thursday when LCI sent Greer an order to fix code violations at a multifamily property at 211 Norton St., across the street from his yeshiva.

Based on an inspection by LCI’s Rick Mazzadra, the order gave Greer 21 days to “remove and replace exposed or worn wiring” and “install [a] missing junction box” in the basement of 211, where tenants had complained of breathing problems. It gave him a deadline of “hours” to “rid all mold” in the basement, where Mazzadra found molded drywall.

The order also gave Greer hours to fix a water leak in the foundation and “around [the] main stack” of a sewer, which had resulted in damp conditions in the wall. He was ordered to remove molded drywall, replace it with new drywall, and repair the mold damage.

In August 2016, a child was lead poisoned in another part of the multi-family house, according to another city notice. A Health Department inspector found lead in 135 areas throughout the apartment. Paint was cracked and chipping in the kitchen, along the front hallways, around a door to the basement and on the exterior walls. The soil around the house was also toxic. Greer cleared the property a year and a half later, getting a release in May 2018.

In November 2016, after another kid was poisoned at a Greer property at 157 Maple St., another Health Department inspector found lead in 106 areas throughout the apartment. The department ordered a full abatement, but the property was never officially cleared.

After those crises, Greer had a lull for almost a year and a half, until another order letter went out just in the last week, based on a June 4 LCI inspection at 799 Elm St. The inspector found that the walls were crumbling at 799. Throughout the second-floor apartment, the drywall had molded and stained, and in the bathroom, it had started to come down, with tiles falling into the shower stall. During the check-up, LCI also found that Greer didn’t have a license to rent the property.

Several tenants said LCI recently requested permission to enter their apartments for routine inspections. But in many cases, the agency’s visits have been rescheduled, pushed back month after month.

Almost all the tenants that the Independent interviewed acknowledged that Greer’s properties provide an affordable alternative that for now is still in better shape than major landlords Pike International or Mandy Management usually offer in the area. Some said they have no complaints at all.

Shalima Abdalla used to live in New York City before her job with a medical contractor brought her to New Haven. A self-described “housecat,” she said she appreciates that her Elm Street apartment is far quieter and more spacious than anything in Gotham for a much lower price.

You can always find tenants with complaints if you speak to enough people, said Greer attorney Grudberg. And maintenance problems are to be expected: Spring rains caused the sewage back-ups, and “mice problems are common in the spring.  Qualified pest control contractors are brought in as necessary to address those issues.”

Grudberg said the rabbi has five and a half full-time staffers taking care of the properties. They’re on top of the problems, along with licensed outside plumbers and electricians. The live-in maintenance person is a relatively new resource, he said. He said overall vacancy rates remain “low,” with a quarter of the tenants having lived in the buildings for at least a decade and two-thirds for at least three years, he said.

Future Ownserhip In Doubt

Whether they like their living situation or not, all Greer’s tenants could soon have new landlords, depending on a complex legal battle that’s unfolding in two courthouses.

To satisfy the $21 million judgement against him, Greer originally proposed a payment plan of $195 a month, drawn from rent at an investment property in Newport, R.I., plus a quarter of his weekly income. A federal judge called that proposal “wholly inadequate.”

“It creates serious doubt that such an installment payment plan would facilitate payment of the judgment,” said Judge Michael P. Shea, who presided over the civil trial in Hartford. Shea ruled that Mirlis can seize Greer’s bank accounts and foreclose on the yeshiva building at the corner of Norton and Elm streets.

Greer is now trying to hold onto his school in state court. He’s offering a “cash bond” for the property’s value to prevent a strict foreclosure that would immediately turn the property over to Mirlis. Mirlis’s lawyer objected that Greer failed to disclose the dollar figure of the bond, whether it matched the value of the yeshiva, and who’d guarantee its payment. Superior Court Judge Walter Spader has not yet set a hearing date.

But the fate of the 53 rental properties is less clear. Greer’s lawyers maintain that the nonprofit housing corporations, which were initially named as parties in the civil suit but removed before the trial began, are totally independent entities.

Christopher Peak PhotoMirlis’s lawyers are trying to find out if that’s true. If not, they might be able to persuade the federal judge to turn over the properties.

On June 5, Mirlis’s attorneys deposed Greer to find out more about his personal wealth and connection to the nonprofits’ finances. They also questioned who sat on the nonprofits’ boards, where their income came from, and how much money their assets are worth.

Greer’s attorneys objected to most of these questions, saying they exceeded the scope of discovery. Then they filed a motion to seal the deposition’s 29-page transcript, arguing the release of “private financial information” could lead to “harassment.”

According to federal tax filings, Greer’s six nonprofits — Edgewood Corners, Edgewood Elm Housing, Edgewood Village, FOH, Yedidei Hagan, Yeshiva of New Haven — hold $8.11 million in assets. Last year, they pulled in $2.68 million in revenue and sent out $2.77 million in expenses.

Greer has since sought permission from alders to take in donations this year to fix up his properties, looking for help with $1.45 million in capital improvements. He sought approval for the credits from the alders from all six nonprofits to qualify for state Neighborhood Assistance Act status, which he can use to solicit private donations from corporations that would then receive equal credits on their Connecticut income taxes.

Primarily focused on energy conservation, Greer’s applications say he plans to repair siding, provide insulation, buy new furnaces and add thermopane replacement windows at the apartments. He also applied for help with similar upgrades, like new air conditioning units and lighting fixtures, at the yeshiva and his Whalley Avenue offices.

In total, Greer is seeking $900,000 in support.

Under the Neighborhood Assistance Act, corporations can collect state tax credits for philanthropic contributions to approved local nonprofits. (If the donations go toward energy conservation, like at Greer’s buildings, the corporations can collect a 100 percent credit, while other causes, like job training or child care, give only a 60 percent credit.) Each year, the city draws up a list of the New Haven agencies that qualify, which is then sent to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services to receive part of an approved grant.

The Board of Alders indeed approved such credits last month for all six Greer agencies. Without asking any questions about where the money will go.

Over the years, Greer has, at times, played an active role in politics and government. In the 1970s, Greer led a successful campaign to force the United States to pressure the Soviet Union into allowing Jewish “refuseniks” to emigrate here and start new, freer lives. He later crusaded against gay rights in Connecticut and filed suit against Yale University over a requirement that students live in coed dorms.

Previous coverage of this case:

Suit: Rabbi Molested, Raped Students
Greer’s Housing Corporations Added To Sex Abuse Lawsuit
2nd Ex-Student Accuses Rabbi Of Sex Assault
2nd Rabbi Accuser Details Alleged Abuse
Rabbi Sexual Abuse Jury Picked
On Stand, Greer Invokes 5th On Sex Abuse
Rabbi Seeks To Bar Blogger from Court
Trial Mines How Victims Process Trauma
Wife, Secretary Come To Rabbi Greer’s Defense
Jury Awards $20M In Rabbi Sex Case
State Investigates Greer Yeshiva’s Licensing
Rabbi Greer Seeks New Trial
Affidavit: Scar Gave Rabbi Greer Away
Rabbi Greer Pleads Not Guilty
$21M Verdict Upheld; Where’s The $?
Sex Abuse Victim’s Video Tests Law

Tags: ,

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry

Comments

posted by: Gretchen Pritchard on June 29, 2018  1:57pm

Sad situation.

You can tell which houses are part of the “village”—they are all painted in variations of the same color scheme: brick red, sage green, and two shades of tan.  It’s been a real boon to the neighborhood as they have been fixed up in this attractive mix of colors, and mostly rented to young families with children.  I hope there will be an outcome that will preserve the positive achievements while rooting out the exploitation and corruption.

posted by: NHPLEB on June 29, 2018  2:08pm

Since when is being a landlord of slum-like properties a “non-profit” enterprise worthy of government money????  Oh ,  the Aldermen approved it?? Without asking any questions??
  That explains it.  More legislative acrobatics by the inept representatives in New Haven.  Greer is a big time slumlord,  not even considering his legal problems,  and should not be receiving money to continue to devalue the areas he is in. 

PS—-  tenants—you don’t like an apartment ?  Here’s what you can do—- move out!  Vote with your feet . I love how tenants stay and complain (and probably don’t pay).  A dumpy free apartment is better than paying; no?

posted by: kevinmacd on June 29, 2018  2:54pm

For the whole story on the Goat and not just this obviously one sided fluff piece one should go to https://larrynoodles.com/ to get the truth on this sexual monster

posted by: 1644 on June 29, 2018  3:36pm

Look for a new place.  In the meantime, pay your rent into court, 121 Elm St, 2 floor:
Conn. Gen. Stat. Sec. 47a-14h. Action by individual tenant to enforce landlord’s responsibilities. Payment of rent into court. (a) Any tenant who claims that the landlord has failed to perform his or her legal duties, as required by section 47a-7 or 47a-7a or subdivisions (1) to (13), inclusive, of subsection (a) of section 21-82, may institute an action in the superior court having jurisdiction over housing matters in the judicial district in which such tenant resides to obtain the relief authorized by this section and sections 47a-7a, 47a-20 and 47a-68. No tenant may institute an action under this section if a valid notice to quit possession or occupancy based upon nonpayment of rent has been served on such tenant prior to the institution of an action under this section or if a valid notice to quit possession or occupancy based on any other ground has been served on such tenant prior to such tenant making the complaint to the agency referred to in subsection (b) of this section, provided any such notice to quit is still effective.

  BTW,  my wife and I put plastic sheeting over our windows.  Windows in an old house will leak.  If it bothers you,  plastic sheeting is a partial solution.  It does not affect life or safety, just comfort, and possibly, your heating bill.  Or, move to a newer house. Plumbing leaks, both of supply and soil drains, are another issue and should be dealt with post-haste.

posted by: Paul Wessel on June 29, 2018  3:36pm

Be interesting to know if the City is pursuing State of CT receivership for the non-profits here:  https://portal.ct.gov/AG/Press-Releases/2014-Press-Releases/State-Granted-Courtappointed-Receiver-for-Amistad-America-Inc.  I don’t know if the issues rise to that level, but might be a strategy to preserve this housing,

posted by: robn on June 30, 2018  7:35am

Ordinarily I’d be appalled at the state giving assistance to a child molester but in this case if the money is tightly funneled into property improvements it’s for a good cause because these assets seem to be clearly headed toward liquidation to pay the civil judgment. Greer clearly doesn’t think so and should be watched like a hawk lest he abscond to Panama. BTW did the judge laugh or get angry or both when Greer proposed an 8,000 year payment plan?

posted by: 1644 on June 30, 2018  10:18am

My cat would love Kelley’s apartment.  Does the lease allow cats?  Other than un-neutered males,  they usually cause little damage and can cure a rodent infestation.

posted by: Nassahegon73 on July 1, 2018  8:21am

We also rent from Edgewood Village. We have the same problems as Kelley but they are not quality of life matters such as a sewage backup or moldy drywall. Our cats keep the mice at bay. The landlord’s pet policy is very lenient. There are currently more animals than people living in our building.

posted by: 1644 on July 1, 2018  6:09pm

“Last year, they pulled in $2.68 million in revenue and sent out $2.77 million in expenses.”
So, the reality is that there isn’t any money to take care of repairs.  Perhaps the 990 would show high salaries to Greer, but more likely rents just aren’t high enough to generate the revenue need to maintain the places.  There may also be vacancy problems, perhaps from empty apartments that need repairs.  I sounds like the complexes need a new, better capitalized owner who can make repair the units before they can be rented for prices which will support their maintenance.
  As for the “retaliatory” evictions, it sound like they have a sound legal basis.  If you want to stay in your place (a) pay the rent on time, and (b) get a lease.  If your lease is ending, either negotiate a new one or be prepared to move if the landlord brings and action.  Without a lease, you don’t have a right to stay.

posted by: EPDP on July 1, 2018  6:54pm

The Greer buildings have had problems for many years.  More now than in the past but the buildings always looked good on the outside, as Greer kept up the high fences and the exteriors well painted, but on the inside the conditions were deplorable.  They have had bat problems in the school building, and the big building diagonally across the street, going back 20 years.  I still remember going to the synagogue and seeing son Ezi Greer chasing the bats with a net attached to a long stick. With the Greer political connections the City didn’t scrutinize them as much as they should have.  Now that the true Daniel Greer has been exposed his friends and cronies in City Hall have all scattered like roaches. His political donations must be way down, so he must have some money stashed away somewhere.  Pike and Mandy are for profit corporations and pay full real estate taxes to the City.  Greer doesn’t do section 8 housing, his non-profits pay a very reduced rate in taxes to the City.  It would be better if the Greer properties were owned by Pike and Mandy, at least the City would get taxes out of them, it’s bad enough that Yale, the biggest real estate owner in the City, is exempt from paying most real estate taxes. The amount of foregone taxes from Yale and Greer would easily give the City a budget surplus.

posted by: Bill Saunders on July 2, 2018  1:18am

“Tax Breaks for Child Molesters” no one has ever said ever!

posted by: cunningham on July 2, 2018  1:45pm

Can anyone confirm the tax status of Edgewood Village/et al properties? I rented from them for years. They’re far from the worst landlords in town, but these problems don’t surprise me — always been curious if they pay their fair share to the city.

posted by: Sabrina-in-NewHaven on July 2, 2018  8:31pm

This is not a sad situation this is a deplorable and reprehensible situation. Using Federal funds to bail him while not my favorite solution does mean that people who are long-time tenants do not have to uproot themselves and their families just to convenience the landlord. If everyone moved out, he’d have no incentive to make repairs. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be many strong tenant groups any longer. People are only interested in profits are do not think long term. Don’t plan for the replacing of rooves, upkeep of boilers or the abatement of mold, water damage etc. Or provide monthly extermination for that matter.

This man simply does not care. I worked and lived in NY long enough to know that when you have a great landlord you stay put. When you have a crappy landlord you call 211 and file complaints. Inspectors show up or call within 48 hours. How this man was allowed to pile so many disgusting violations and allow his tenants to live this way is so typical I am not even shocked. This is a reflection of New Haven as well.

And for those of you so callous as to say, “if you don’t like your landlord, move…” is missing the bigger picture. Landlords are required to keep your deposits in escrow. When you move, even if you get that money back is still may not be enough to cover those expenses much less the person/family be able to pay higher rents than what they are paying now. Please keep your privileged comments to yourself.

Management companies are no better. They work for the landlord, not you. So when you call, you get voicemail, just ringing phones or you just get the runaround and there is no paper trail.

Luckily some buildings can be taken over by affordable housing non-profits who rehab homes and improve quality of life. When large repairs are needed they can partner with a construction company allowing those companies to take tax credits as part of the incentive to help.

What is not helping are blaming tenants.

posted by: 1644 on July 3, 2018  2:20am

Sabrina:  CT is not NYC.  Renting an apartment doesn’t give you the right to stay as long as you want, but only as long as your lease says.  It’s not a long-term arrangement,  When your lease is up, you should be ready to move.  The end of the lease means both tenant or landlord can break the relationship, no reason needed.  Of course, landlords generally want to keep good tenants, i.e., tenants who pay on time (the 1st, not the 10th), take good care of the place and don’t create nuisances (loud parties, etc.).  I have never heard of once-a-month exterminators.  Yes, I get mice, but traps or a cat will take care of them.  Being clean also helps with insects, as will some simple spraying.  For major problems, if your lease is still good, pay rent into court.
    As far as “non-profit” landlords being the solution, the landlords in this article are non-profits.  The problem is that the rents charged did not cover expenses, including setting aside funds to cover roof replacement, etc.

posted by: NHPLEB on July 3, 2018  6:45am

@Sabrina-  the abuse of the tax code to subsidize the rental business is why Greer should not have been collecting the benefits of a “non-profit”.  A real non-profit’s goal is to provide decent quality housing for people.  Most landlords go into the business to MAKE MONEY;  some are slumlords but most are not.
A tenant has all the protections of the law and the final freedom to move if they are unhappy with their unit.  That is not a privileged comment.  It is a fact. A landlord has very few protections and must follow the law precisely; a tenant can wreck an apartment with almost no consequences—the landlord keeps the security??? Big deal when the landlord has to sustain thousands in damage , lost rent, court costs, and the potential lose of other tenants.  Tenants can cry poverty to the judge at an eviction; they would laugh at the landlord because all landlords are believed to be rich. Some people resent that they must pay rent to a property owner.  And let us never forget that the biggest slumlord is New Haven is our very own Housing Authority so go picket their offices.
Speaking an opinion is not privilege.  Refusing to listen to another point of view smacks of the snowflake mentality—“you can’t say anything that I disagree with because that would upset me.”

posted by: elmcityale on July 3, 2018  6:09pm

I can offer some late, but relevant comments from someone who was interviewed for this story.

Regarding this quote in the article: “Grudberg said the rabbi has five and a half full-time staffers taking care of the properties. They’re on top of the problems, along with licensed outside plumbers and electricians.”

Perhaps technically correct, but the real story is that there is nobody with significant real estate management experience managing the properties since the departure of Ezi Greer.  Not to demean the hard working people involved, but they are all in over their heads in this situation.  The maintenance guy is incredibly hard working, but the amount of outstanding work is beyond him and the help he gets from another hard working younger guy that is new.

Regarding this comment: “The problem is that the rents charged did not cover expenses, including setting aside funds to cover roof replacement, etc.”

Without seeing the private details, it’s pure speculation on anyone’s part regarding the finances of the non-profit corps running the housing, but there are reasons to believe there has been plenty of income diverted to other “causes” than maintenance of the properties for many years.  For example, the school appears to have always been supported by some income from the rentals.

What’s missing from the article: where is LCI in this mess, especially considering they performed site inspections of these properties last month (after being twice pushed off for several months in total)?  And why does LCI seem to be so inconsistent in such inspections?  I had to practically drag the inspectors to see the specific problems with this property.  Their default inspection was to check a single smoke detector for working batteries and a few others visually - and not much more.  Yet, from people that manage other properties, I’ve heard stories of units failed by LCI for cosmetic issues.  How can this be explained?

posted by: jim1 on July 5, 2018  9:55am

Paul you must not like my comments.  Some times they might be a little toooo much. Thanks for not printing those.  jim

posted by: Sabrina-in-NewHaven on July 6, 2018  9:26am

Wow! go away for few days and come back to such drivel

@1644 I know but New Haven needs to get it together. They clearly were not monitoring these buildings. Nonprofit holders must submit all kinds of reports in NY and apparently here in New Haven it’s a free for all. However, the damage this article speaks of is external. Did you not read it?

@ AMDC I am well aware of how nonprofits should operate being that I consult with many. I’ve worked for many nonprofits and in housing management so I am also aware of how expensive it is to be a landlord. I also know how annoying and destructive tenants can be.  It is not the fault of the current residents that there is damage to these properties correct? Please explain what rotting steps, sewage back up and boilers in need of replacement have to do with the tenants? The issue is that this pedophile is also a slum landlord. He’s selfish. He’s holding to ownership and it’s pathetic.

As to my original statement which seems to have all your panties in a bunch. I SAID WHAT I SAID!!!!
These tenants deserve better. Period. Debating what current tenants deserve to talk about people who are abusing the system is not going to get you anywhere. I can coach you on how to present a better argument if you’d like.

posted by: 1644 on July 6, 2018  3:29pm

Sabrina:  New Haven’s reach has exceeded its grasp.  Most towns do not have blight ordinances, an LCI beyond the building & zoning codes,  or have lead ordinances as strenuous as New Haven’s.  Building inspectors can document violations that allow tenants to break leases or pay rent into court, but the responsibility fro finding an acceptable place to live has to lie with the individual.  I am not sure why you think the external damage is significant.  A broken fence may look bad, but it does affect habitability.  The city does not have a responsibility to house people.  Building inspectors may act as referees, determining if there are, in fact, code violations, but ultimately the landloard-tenant relationship is a private contract between two private parties.  If the landlord isn’t meeting his obligations, the tenant may seek alternative housing. If he has to pay more for comparable housing, the landlord is liable for the difference until the end of the original lease.