Tenants of Bankrupt NYC Apartments Seek Cash to Fix Rat Problem

Tenants in bankrupt Manhattan apartment buildings affiliated withEmerald Equity Group LLC are demanding that housing code violations including rat infestations and bed bugs be immediately addressed as part of a Chapter 11 agreement.

The residents are seeking an order compelling the debtor, 203 W 107th Street LLC, to use available funds to address outstanding New York CityHousing Court orders and make any urgent repairs to the buildings, according to court papers.

“New violation conditions arise daily, but the building managers fail to address them in a timely manner,” according to a declaration signed byDouglas Kellner ofKellner Herlihy Getty & Friedman LLP, who represents a group of tenants at 203, 210, 220 and 230 West 107th Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Tenants, the debtor’s lawyers and the lenderLoanCore, which is taking ownership of the buildings in bankruptcy, reached a tentative agreement to bring the properties into compliance with the housing code, the filing said. Kellner said the buildings have already been found in contempt of housing court orders to address violations, many of which are hazardous.

Representatives for Emerald Equity and LoanCore didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

‘Rats Scratching’

The buildings were part of a group of apartments controlled by Emerald Equity thatfiled for bankruptcy last week, blaming tougher housing regulations and a tenant rent strike for their debt troubles. Emerald, led byIsaac Kassirer, pitches itself on itswebsite as a leading real estate firm focused on multifamily rental acquisitions, with about 7,000 units across the U.S., including 1,500“in developing areas” of Manhattan.

Tenants living in Apartment LL2 at 230 West 107th Street reported rats in the walls and ceiling of the whole unit, as well as a cockroach infestation in the kitchen and bathroom. The unit also doesn’t have a proper fire exit, the papers said.

Another renter living in 6E said heating pipes didn’t work properly in the kitchen or bathroom, and plumbing regularly overflowed. A tenant in 2E reported “rats scratching and clawing” in the bathroom walls and multiple days without heat. The declarations were among pages of complaints filed by Kellner.

The current budget of $30,000 for repairs during the month of January is “woefully inadequate,” and cash should be used to address those concerns ahead of a planned $984,187 allocation for property taxes, according to the declaration.

Rat infestations in the buildings are caused by a failure to keep the garbage area clean, and the current staff of two superintendents and two porters is insufficient to address the problem, the papers said.

The case is 203 W 107th Street LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 20-12960, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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