Last year, the landlord of a Brooklyn building pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in connection with a fire. The 2010 fire occurred at an apartment building on 86th Street in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. Someone apparently doused a roll of toilet paper in paint thinner and lit the roll. Five immigrants from Guatemala tragically died in the building fire and 16 other individuals suffered injuries.
The severity of the building fire was compounded by the fact that several of the victims in the building were trapped in illegally divided apartments. After the fire subsided, inspectors learned that unauthorized partitions and locked doors had been used to create six separate apartments. These illegal apartments held 9 tenants on the second floor and 10 on the third floor. Fire officials reported that if the building had been up to code then they would have been able to put out the fire in less than an hour. Instead, it took firefighters about three hours to put out the fire and break down illegal partitions.
After the fire, the landlord received a fine of almost $80,000 for illegally subdividing the building. New York City prosecutors also brought an action against the landlord based on the unauthorized apartment dwellings. Authorities charged the landlord and his wife and son with manslaughter. In October of last year, all three pleaded guilty. In February of this year, the landlord is scheduled to be sentenced to one to three years in prison. The son will receive six months in jail, as well as five years of probation. While the mother avoided jail time, she will also receive five years of probation.
Landlord’s Duties and Obligations to Tenants
Under the New York City Housing Maintenance Code and the New York State Multiple Dwelling Law, every landlord has certain duties and responsibilities with respect to a property. It is important to be aware of these duties to ensure that every landlord abides by the law. Some of the more important obligations of a landlord include:
● Buildings must be safe, clean and well maintained, including common areas and apartments;
● Owners must provide and maintain security measures;
● Building must have heat, hot and cold water, and good lighting;
● Owners must keep buildings in good repair; and
● Tenants must have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Contact a Brooklyn Landlord Negligence Lawyer
If your landlord has been negligent in maintaining a building or has failed to abide by its obligations under New York law, a Brooklyn landlord negligence lawyer can help protect your rights. The Law Office of Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum has extensive experience helping individuals recover damages for injuries suffered as a result of a landlord’s negligence.
Contact Brooklyn landlord negligence lawyer Jeffrey K. Kestenbaum today at (718) 237-5586 to schedule a consultation.