Streetview of Moshe Piller’s East 172nd Street buildings © 2022 Google Maps
The city this week filed a lawsuit against landlord Moshe Piller, who has accumulated over 1,900 violations for dangerous conditions across 15 buildings he owns in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Manhattan. Mayor Eric Adams on Thursday said the purpose of the lawsuit is to pressure Piller to repair his property or face “tens of millions” in civil penalties.
“The time of landlords openly flouting the law and harassing tenants is over. This lawsuit sends a clear message that those who break the law will pay,” Adams said in a statement.
“For years, Moshe Piller has ignored his responsibilities as a landlord and racked up more than 1,900 violations — landing him a spot as one of the city’s ‘worst landlords.’ While Piller made millions in profits, his tenants paid the price. Our administration won’t allow people to willfully endanger the safety and well-being of their tenants.”
The lawsuit lays out infractions committed by Piller, including work performed without a permit and repeated failures to immediately correct dangerous conditions at properties posing risks to tenants.
At Piller’s property at 1742-1758 East 172nd Street in the Soundview section of the Bronx, the Department of Housing Preservation & Development has issued 189 violations, the Department of Buildings has issued 150 violations, and the Fire Department of New York has issued six violations.
These violations include dangerous elevator safety conditions, unsafe electrical wiring, work without a permit, lead-based paint hazards, and a lack of having multiple self-closing doors to contain a fire, the same violation that contributed to the scale of devastation in January’s Bronx fire.
Many of these same violations were found at Piller’s other properties in Brooklyn and Manhattan, with the landlord’s property at 730-760 Rogers Avenue, located on the Prospect Lefferts Gardens/ Flatbush border, issued 262 violations, which ranged from illegal partitions of additional apartments or rooms to bed bugs infestations and mold.
The lawsuit is one example of the city’s recent efforts to crack down on negligent landlords. Early in March, the city increased enforcement at 250 apartment buildings in the five boroughs that collectively accumulated almost 40,000 open housing maintenance code violations.
Piller is ranked 28th on the public advocate’s 2021 “Worst Landlord Watchlist” and has faced criticism for years from tenant organizations like the Flatbush Tenant Coalition.
“It is time for Moshe Piller to finally see real consequences for harassing tenants and forcing us to live in dangerous conditions. Right now, we have a roof that leaks whenever it rains. He’s endangered peoples’ lives right here in Brooklyn and in the Bronx,” Altagrace Aime, tenant leader of the Flatbush Tenant Coalition, said in a statement.
“For years, Moshe Piller has been targeting tenants, taking us to court for nonpayment, and trying to evict us, all while he ignores repairs and acts like the law doesn’t apply to him. He’s been overcharging us, he’s been harassing us, and now he’s trying to use the pandemic to collect even more money, while we live in decrepit and dangerous conditions. Enough is enough from Moshe Piller.”
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