Lower East Side tenants sue landlord, alleging 130 violations

By Amy Tennery | January 20, 2011 05:41PM

A group of tenants at 101 Stanton Street on the Lower East Side have filed suit against their landlord, Arwen Equities Partners, for allegedly allowing 130 violations to pile up at the building, located on the corner of Ludlow Street. Among their complaints are broken floors and walls, vermin infestation and exposed wiring. Additionally, they allege that they‘ve lived without cooking gas for six months.

Shafaq Islam, an attorney for the Urban Justice Center, which is representing the tenants in the suit, said the city should intervene and make the repairs.

“We Are Asking Manhattan Housing Court to take the landlord out of the picture until the building is livable again,” Islam said.

The landlords’ attorney, Joel Bernstein of the Manhattan law firm Solomon & Bernstein, declined to comment on most of the complaints against his client, explaining that he was still reviewing them. While he said the problem with the gas has been ongoing, he could not confirm the six-month timeline that the tenants allege.

“It’s not an ignored problem… A commercial tenant was doing some renovation in the basement and they smelled gas; they called Con Ed and Con Ed shut off the gas,” Bernstein said. “The tenants were provided with hot plates and toaster ovens for a temporary measure.”

Since that time, Bernstein said, the landlords have been caught up in a back-and-forth with city officials to receive the proper permit to reinstall pipes and restart the gas.
Arwen Equities deferred requests for comment to its attorney.

Bernstein said that the landlords will try to reach an agreement with the tenants, if possible.

“We’re going to try and settle it because I don’t really think it’s a matter of fault,” Bernstein said. “Sorry, but it’s not like we were sleeping.”