Why 75 tenants were removed from
Joseph Betesh’s Chinatown building

Residents of 85 Bowery were evacuated following court-ordered inspection

TRD New York /
Jan.January 19, 2018 10:05 AM

85 Bowery

UPDATED, 10:37 a.m., Jan 22: The city has deemed a building in Chinatown uninhabitable following a court-ordered inspection, leaving at least 75 tenants without a home.

The FDNY on Thursday evacuated the building at 85 Bowery, where tenants have been fighting with their landlord Joseph Betesh for years, according to the New York Daily News. They have accused him of neglecting the building to force them out during repairs and increase the rents, while Betesh has said he wants the building cleared out so he can dramatically improve its infrastructure.

Public Advocate Letitia James had supported a settlement that would prevent the tenants from getting evicted and get them long-term rent stabilized leases, but the deal fell apart, and she stopped representing them in summer 2016.

Engineers from the city’s Department of Buildings found that the building’s main stairway was unstable, and they are giving Betesh two weeks to replace it.

“The staircase has always been slanted, but there’s never been any kind of accident,” tenant Raymond Wong told the News. “There are a lot of old people and children in there. I don’t know what they’re going to do.”

A spokesperson for Betesh accused tenants of doing “illegal renovation work” that damaged the building, such as converting apartments into single-room-occupancy units.

“This unauthorized renovation work was done without our consent and put all the building’s occupants at greater risk by leading to dangerous overcrowding, blocked fire escapes and other safety hazards,” he said. “We were unable to prevent this activity because occupants and their representatives repeatedly denied us access to their units.” [NYDN]Eddie Small

This post has been updated to include a response from the landlord.

Related Articles

Zillow CEO Rich Barton (Credit: iStock)

Zillow and Opendoor aren’t making much on home-flipping

WeWork employees speak up to management, NY condo buyers can stay anonymous after all

WeWork employees speak up to management, NY condo buyers can stay anonymous after all

This week, the State Department of Taxation and Finance issued a new memo that notably made no mention of condos. (Credit: iStock)

Regulators quietly change stance on condos in LLC law

Airbnb lost by a landslide in Jersey City. What went wrong?

Airbnb lost by a landslide in Jersey City. What went wrong?

Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider (Credit: iStock)

Realogy’s plan to stop the iBuyers from gaining a foothold in Chicago

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop (Credit: Twitter, iStock, Airbnb)

Stakes are high as Jersey City residents vote on Airbnb

Daily Digest Thursday

Worker killed at Lam Group construction site, Uber signs WTC lease: Daily digest

Developers are offering to pay the increased mansion and transfer taxes to give them an edge in a difficult market. (Credit: iStock)

Amid slow sales, developers give buyers a break on mansion taxes