A Bronx landlord cut his tenants’ gas this holiday season, so he’ll be getting a lump of coal in his stocking — and a lawsuit.
Nearly 30 tenants in a Carroll Place building near Grand Concourse say landlord Chaim Schweid has forced them to cook on hot plates for five months, also ruining Thanksgiving.
“We can’t have our families over! No Thanksgiving, no Christmas,” said Eunice Davis, who has lived at 1110 Carroll Place for over 20 years. “I can’t tell my grandkids that they can’t come over because I don’t have gas. They want to see granny!”
Davis and 27 other tenants allege in a suit filed in Bronx Housing Court that Schweid has also neglected a vermin infestation.
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Tenants were stunned to have recently been alerted to papers posted in the building noting the presence of asbestos, as well, according to the suit.
A handwritten sign in the building directed to the management company read: “How am I supposed to cook a turkey on a hot plate? Thanks SBS Carroll LLc. for ruining my Thanksgiving! 5 months no gas!”
Schweid insisted he was replacing gas lines throughout the rent-stabilized, 79-unit building as fast as possible. He’d been forced to cut gas by Con Edison, he said.
A Department of Buildings spokesman confirmed the landlord had received a permit for gas work. Con Ed confirmed it had received a complaint about a gas odor in July.
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“I don’t want to, God forbid, put my tenants in jeopardy. It’s impossible to do it faster than what I’m doing,” Schweid said, calling the suit “irrational and unfair.”
He vowed the $200,000 job would be complete by the end of January. A notice posted in the building said workers would be requesting access to tenants’ buildings soon.
Tenants said Schweid had ignored repeated complaints about conditions in the building.
“We can’t cook or do anything,” Berneta Ashe, 84, said. “For five months we haven’t had gas. It’s too long. We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting, but nothing.”
Ashe’s apartment was infested with cockroaches. The hot plate sat on the top of the stove next to crumbs of food.
“He knows we don’t have gas,” Ashe said. “This is just no way to live.”
Jiglif Rodriguez, 35, showed the Daily News the sorry state of his bathroom. The showerhead was broken off, leaving an exposed pipe sticking out of a moldy wall.
“The landlord says he’s going to work on it but he never comes,” said Rodriguez, who is also waging a separate legal fight against Schweid over repairs. “I call, I text, I send him pictures. Nothing.”
Jeff Bohn, a paralegal with MFY Legal Services, said the firm was holding the landlord’s feet to the fire, thanks in part to a grant from the NYC Human Resources Administration dedicated to helping people in Housing Court get representation.
“It’s frustrating to see tenants being held hostage by landlords,” Bohn said.Send a Letter to the Editor