Crown Heights man says he’s being pushed out the apartment he rents
A man who says he has lived in Crown Heights for decades says he’s now being pushed out of his home. Francis Roberts says that his block was once a place that brought him smiles, but now living on the 900 block of Park Place brings him to tears.
“How many others are there like me in New York, living through these horrors,” said Roberts. “And what is being done about it?”
The building he calls home sticks out among the rest, with two bright green portable bathrooms on the property. A sign on the property states that the landlord has yet to get permits for additional bathrooms in the building, so he is paying for the temporary bathrooms.
Outside of the building, remnants of a homeless encampment can be seen as well.
“We used to have a big tent here that everybody complained about. It was gigantic,” said Lenny, who used to live outside of Roberts’ property. “I had a refrigerator down here, I had a hot water tank because the thing was, I made it livable down here, but the thing was the neighbors didn't like it that much."
Lenny, who lived outside of the property for three months, says there is a tenant in the building named Aaron who gave him permission to stay. News 12 was unable to speak with Aaron.
Roberts is now suing the landlord of his building, 972 Park Place LLC, with Roberts’ lawyer saying that they “believe this is an intentional harassment technique designed to push Francis out."
The lawyer representing 972 Park Place LLC provided the following statement:
“My client is denying any harassment and has no control of third parties and other tenant/s on the premises. It appears like dispute between tenants.”
Roberts told News 12 he also deals with poor housing conditions, like sewage backup in his sink and bathtub, mold, and a large hole in his wall.
The property currently has 224 open violations, with most of those coming from Roberts’ basement apartment.
Roberts has named the city’s Housing Preservation & Development Department in his lawsuit. Hit lawyers say the department neglected to address the ongoing issues.
HPD provided this statement in response:
"HPD’s emergency repair team is working to address the most unsafe conditions and more inspectors were dispatched to the property today. Owners must uphold their lawful responsibility to maintain safe housing and we will continue to take action using all of our enforcement tools to hold the landlord accountable and improve conditions in the building."
The landlord’s lawyer says in a statement that his client is offering Roberts’ legal team to relocate and find a “substantially better living arrangement” for him.
Roberts has refused, having been approached by his landlord to buy out his apartment multiple times.
If the case makes it to trial, the first trial date will be Dec. 5.