95-year-old EV tenant paying $84 a month accuses landlord of harassment

She says Lionel Nazarian sent threatening emails and cut off utilities
October 20, 2017 11:00AM

192-4 First Avenue

A group of rent regulated tenants in an East Village apartment — one of whom pays just $84 a month — is accusing their new landlord of trying to force them out of their homes.

The residents at 192-4 First Avenue claim the building’s new owner Lionel Nazarian is cutting off their utilities, running an illegal construction zone and sending threatening emails, Gothamist reported. Nazarian paid $13 million for building in June, according to the publication.

One of the rent regulated tenants, a 95-year-old woman identified only as Jean, has lived in the building since 1938, and pays just $84 a month in rent. She told the website she has not had a working stove in five months, and, because a portion of the ceiling fell into her bedroom, she recently fell and spent two weeks in hospital. A city tax credit supplements Jean’s rent, but most of the other tenants pay $1,600 a month or less.

A newly renovated apartment in the 16-unit building was recently advertised for double that, according to Gothamist.

Other tenants said Nazarian has turned the building into an unbearable construction site, that he is badgering them about buyouts. One said that, after she complained about dust seeping into her apartment, Nazarian emailed her and said if she kept complaining he would stop “spending time and resources to actually clean and let you live in the shithole you deserve.”

Earlier this month, landlord Steve Croman, who’d been accused for years of ruthless harassment tactics at his lower Manhattan buildings, was sentenced to one year in jail at Rikers Island. He’d previously pleaded guilty to criminal mortgage and tax fraud charges.

The July issue of The Real Deal examined industry concerns about a crackdown on landlords.  [Gothamist] Miriam Hall