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Tenants Sue Landlord With Hundreds of Building Violations in Greenpoint SRO

By Meredith Hoffman | March 7, 2013 3:27pm | Updated on March 8, 2013 8:03am

GREENPOINT — A brutal landlord has refused to fix broken toilets, falling ceilings, mold, rats and inadequate heat at his Manhattan Avenue building, tenants charge in a new lawsuit. 

"He's trying to get tenants out," said resident Jeffrey Earnest, 41, who claimed the landlord Jay Deutchman had denied requests to fix heat, plumbing and doors. "The bathrooms are nasty, there's been no front door."

The lawsuit, filed in Brooklyn Civil Court this January, charges that the landlord of the Greenpoint hotel — which provides affordable housing across the street from popular cafe Milk and Roses — has knowingly kept "unlawful" conditions in the building.

"He has intentionally not been making repairs," said the tenants' attorney Brian Sullivan of MFY Legal Services. "The fire escape is falling off the building...there are rats, bed bugs, and the back had no locking door."

The city currently has 315 open violations against the building. Conditions have gotten so bad that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development is intervening, a spokesman for the agency said, noting that a case was pending in housing court to "correct all pending violations" and to penalize the owner for delayed work.

"HPD has been litigating against this owner for some time," the spokesman said. "We have had 26 housing court actions between 2006 and present, and the agency spent $8,300 from 2004 — 2012 to perform emergency repairs on the most hazardous violations because the owner did not correct them in a timely manner."

Deutchman has also been involved in a legal dispute with tenants at his building around the corner at 66 Clay St.

The lawyer for Jay Deutchman, Edward Deignan, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the case.