Tenants of a rent-stabilized building in Greenpoint are finally back home, after being driven out when their landlords killed the heat, water and electricity mid-winter three years ago.
The residents of 300 Nassau Avenue, owned by brothers Joel and Aaron Israel, moved back into the newly-renovated three-story building in August when the Department of Buildings lifted a vacate order that had condemned the property since December 2013, DNAinfo reported.
With the help of a tenant advocacy group, about 11 tenants in the six-unit building had sued the landlords, and in 2015 a judge ruled that the brothers had failed to keep the building livable. The court took control of the building away from the brothers and gave it to a city-appointed administrator to oversee repairs. The repairs will eventually be paid by the brothers in the form of liens, DNAinfo reported.
At least one family was left homeless and spent months in a shelter while they waited to return home.
The Israel brothers are also facing criminal charges in Brooklyn for their practices at 300 Nassau Avenue as well as several other buildings throughout Brooklyn — 324 Central Avenue and 98 Linden Street In Bushwick and 15 Humboldt Street in Williamsburg. According to court documents, they intentionally demolished units to make them unlivable or locked tenants out of their apartments, in order to force out rent-stabilized tenants.
The brothers pleaded not guilty to all seven charges against them, which include burglary, grand larceny and criminal mischief, among others. [DNAinfo] — Chava Gourarie