Legal Aid Society

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LAS Sues on Behalf of Tenants in Collapsed Bronx Building

The Legal Aid Society has filed a lawsuit against the landlords of 1915 Billingsley Terrace – the Bronx building that partially collapsed on December 11, 2023 – seeking immediate repairs to over 133 housing violations, more than half of which are classified as “immediately hazardous.”

The litigation also seeks to lift a partial vacate order to allow displaced tenants – many of whom have been living in homeless shelters – to return to their homes. Additionally, the lawsuit seeks to force the landlords to rebuild the collapsed section of the building and restore units to their original layouts and square footage.

Tenants are dealing with dangerous conditions, including an outage of cooking gas to the entire building, harmful construction dust in common areas, an overall lack of janitorial services in the building, and infestations of cockroaches, rats, and mice.

The landlords have engaged in blatantly illegal behavior that has harassed and endangered the tenants by forcing them to sign agreements stipulating that the conditions in their apartments were fully repaired, despite the deplorable conditions, in exchange for receiving the keys to their apartments.

“Our clients and all tenants of 1915 Billingsley have suffered tremendously at the hands of their landlord – however, their hardships did not begin when the building partially collapsed, but years before that as the unsafe conditions of the building worsened,” said Zoe Kheyman, an attorney in the Housing Justice Unit – Group Advocacy at The Legal Aid Society.

“The landlords must make immediate repairs so that the City can lift the partial vacate order and the tenants can return home,” she continued. “While the work is being done the landlord and the city must ensure that the families who have been allowed to return are not exposed to lead dust, mold and other toxins.”