Longtime tenants are suing landlord Moshe Piller, claiming they were overcharged nearly $90,000 for rent, and that he engaged in a “campaign of harassment” to force them out of their rent-regulated apartments at 2010 Newkirk Avenue in Brooklyn, according to a lawsuit.
Legal Services NYC’s Brooklyn program filed the lawsuit on behalf of the 12 tenants in Kings County Supreme Court Wednesday.
According to court documents, Piller ignored multiple rent reductions orders issued by the state’s Division of Homes and Community Renewal.
The DHCR issues the orders for when a landlord reduces services and rent is not allowed to be raised during that time period. DHCR issued several rent reductions orders, dating back to 1993, for roach infestations, sinking floors, buckling and collapsed ceilings, leaks among other things at the four-story, 32-unit building.
Piller increased rents despite the orders and when tenants at the Ditmas Park building didn’t pay, he tried to evict them, according to court documents.
“He steals our money and takes us to court saying we owe him more,” Jean Alleyne, a tenant in the building and a plaintiff, said in a press release. “These landlords are robbing people and they know they are doing it. They don’t do it with a gun, but it’s robbery, plain and simple.”
In a separate case, Legal Services NYC filed another lawsuit against Piller in Bronx Supreme Court in December. It was filed on behalf of tenants at 1775 Davidson Avenue in Morris Heights who say they did not have cooking gas for months, had rat and roach infestations, and inadequate access to heat and hot water, according to the release and news reports.
Piller has featured on Letitia James’ annual Worst Landlords List and has racked up thousands of violations at various buildings over the years, according to news reports.
Piller was not immediately available for comment. His son, Saul Piller, with whom he runs Ryms Realty Group, declined to comment.
In August, the the Vanbarton Group was in contract to sell a three-building South Bronx retail portfolio to the Pillers for $39 million.