EAST VILLAGE — Listings for four, top-floor studio apartments inside an East 5th Street building have appeared online — even though they haven’t been authorized for occupancy.
The Board of Standards and Appeals is set to decide on whether occupancy should be allowed in the sixth-floor units at 515 E. 5th St. later this month, which are part of a controversial addition built nearly a decade ago.
However, online listings indicate that the units are “available now,” even though the floor does not have a certificate of occupancy and the building is technically noncompliant with local zoning regulations, attorneys said.
“We don’t think this shows much respect for the law,” said Daniel Bernstein, a lawyer for the building’s tenants association, which has been locked in a drawn out battle with the landlord, Benjamin Shaoul, over the addition.
“They’re trying to occupy them before they’re approved, before they’ve received the [certificate of occupancy]."
The association has spent years fighting to remove what was originally a two-story enlargement on top of a five-story tenement building, which they considered a safety hazard and a tool to drive rent-stabilized tenants, according to reports.
In 2010, the BSA ordered Shaoul to remove the penthouse on the seventh floor, which was taken down earlier this year, according to EV Grieve. Shaoul is now trying to legalize the sixth floor for occupancy by applying for variances with the BSA, which the tenants association opposes.
Shaoul shrugged off the ads and said he did not know how the apartments — which are outfitted with hardwood floors, marble bathrooms and a private terrace with views of Manhattan for about $2,600 to $2,700 a month, according to the listings — ended up on the real estate search site StreetEasy.
“I’m not responsible,” he said before pinning the listings on brokers.
“Brokers are unauthorized. Brokers do that all the time. There’s nothing,” he said. “Brokers do whatever they want to do.”
It is unclear if the any of the units are occupied. Marvin Mitzner, Shaoul’s attorney, said no one was living in the units and a broker said he was not showing those apartments because they were being renovated.
The Board of Standards and Appeals will decide on the case on Sept. 18, according to a spokesman.