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City Has Fined Hamilton Heights' 'Worst Landlord' $240K Since 1999

By Gustavo Solis | February 20, 2015 7:31am

HAMILTON HEIGHTS — The owner of the uptown building that had tenants freezing from no heat or hot water during the coldest weekend of the year has been charged nearly a quarter of a million dollars since 1999 for failing to make basic repairs, city housing records show.

Landlord Nima Nabavi, who made Public Advocate Letitia James' "Worst Landlords" list two years in a row, has racked up violations for busted smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a broken fire escape, ignoring mice and roach infestations and having water leaks and exposed electric wires, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

In 2012, the building had 386 violations with the HPD and was placed in a program for “severely distressed” properties, according to the city agency.

Under the "Alternative Enforcement Program" building owners are charged $1,000 every year and $200 for every complaint that results in a Class B or C violation, said Elizabeth Rohlfing, a department spokeswoman.

Since being in the program, Nabavi has been charged $90,000 by HPD — $50,000 for fees and $40,000 for repairs done by the city, the she added.

“The owner has been pretty current on paying the charges, but clearly there are still concerns and we are presently exploring additional enforcement actions,” Rohlfing said.

The 43-unit building on 545 W. 146th St. was without heat from Saturday to Monday — when the temperature dropped to below 5 degrees — because they ran out of heating oil, Nabavi told DNAinfo Monday.

He did not respond to questions about the violations and $240,000 in charges Thursday evening.

Although the heat and hot water were restored Monday, residents say the heat is shut off late at night. Because the landlord has a history of making shoddy repairs, they fear the heat may not last.

“The repairs only last for some time and then return to what they were before,” resident Isabela Paz, 33, said. “We have always had problems with the heat and the elevator and the cooking gas. I don’t know if the repairs were done correctly or how long the heat will last.”

The elevator, which was repaired Monday night, broke again the next day, she added.

The building has not had cooking gas in eight months and the residents are on a rent strike until the owner fixes it. They filed a lawsuit in November with the hope of getting an order for the repairs, Paz said.