Brooklyn Man in Rent Stabilized Apartment Says he Is Being Harassed and Harassed by Landlord

  • Francis Roberts, 77 years old, is suing his landlord because he tried to force him out his rent-stabilized Brooklyn apartment.
  • Roberts claims he has lived in extremely poor conditions ever since April, when his building was bought.
  • New Yorkers rallied behind Roberts to help him get adequate repairs to his apartment, and stop the bullying.

Brooklyn man claims he is being harassed by his landlord. He wants to force him out of his rent-stabilized apartment at $450 per month, where he has lived for 20 years. earlier reported by Brownstoner.

Francis Roberts, 77, said the alleged harassment — which he said includes a property full of garbage and even live chickens — is an attempt by his landlord to force him out of the building.

According to the site, Roberts rejected an offer by a previous owner to buy him out from his lease. Although the amount of the offer remains unknown, it was made by a former tenant in the building. told the New York TimesShe offered $150,000 to purchase hers.

Roberts claims that the building, built in 1903, has not had heat since April when the new owners took control, according to the Times. And he said a green liquid is leaking through the ceiling of his basement apartment — and that loud music blasts from the upstairs apartment at all hours of the day

garbage in a doorway

Legal Services NYC shared photos of the trash they claim litters Roberts’ hallway in front of his front door.

Courtesy of Legal Services NYC



Yehuda Gruenberg, his landlord, and a tenant who moved in to the building in May are both to blame for the conditions. Roberts claims Gruenberg brought in the new tenant to bully him. Roberts claims Gruenberg wants him out so that Gruenberg can increase the rent and hire better-paying tenants. 

Julius Toonkel Gruenberg’s lawyer, denied harassment allegations in a statement to Insider. Toonkel stated that Roberts’ landlord couldn’t access his apartment because of a hoarding problem. According to the attorney, Roberts has in the past refused to allow repairmen to enter his apartment. He didn’t specifically address the  chickens near Roberts’ apartment.

Toonkel stated that Gruenberg offered Roberts a “brand brand new” apartment to stay in during repairs. But Roberts refused.

The disagreement between landlord and tenant comes as the neighborhood where Roberts lives — Crown Heights, Brooklyn — has experienced gentrification: According to StreetEasyThe median monthly rent for a Crown Heights apartment with two bedrooms is $3,000. Like many Brooklyn neighborhoods, Crown HeightsIt has seen a sharp decline in its Black population from 78% to 48% between 2000 and 2019. Rents started to rise in the 2010s. wealthier groups flocked to Brooklyn.

Roberts’ rent is regulated by New York City rent-stabilization lawsThese generally cover buildings built between 1947-1974. They limit the amount a property owner can increase rent. The law doesn’t allow landlords to evict tenants just because they want to give the apartment over to a better-paying tenant. New York’s Homes and Community Renewal agency

Roberts said that he had raised concerns about the building’s state to Legal Services NYC, an advocacy organization working on his case. Roberts told the Times that the property was sold to its current owner before it received any necessary repairs.

He described living in poverty: Legal Services NYC Tenants Rights Coalition is assisting Roberts in his lawsuit against the building ownerThe publication published photos of the building. The pictures depicted port-a-potties placed just outside Roberts’ door, trash littering the path to his door — and even chickens roaming the property.

Roberts claims that the garbage and livestock are the property of squatters, and the tenant who moved in to the building earlier in the year. “This is criminal. Roberts said that it was heartless. Insider reached out to his legal team for comment but they didn’t respond. 

 

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