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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Problems at the Majestic continue to fester, tenants say

By Shant Shahrigian
Posted
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Thomas Lake views his recently collapsed kitchen ceiling prior to a Sept. 20 fix that he called shoddy.

A large studio apartment at the Majestic on 3660 Waldo Ave. is Tommy Lake and Natalia Rosario’s first home together. 

But it has been anything but blissful for the young couple and their 3-year-old daughter since they moved in last June.

“I’m trying to do everything legitimately, how it’s supposed to be,” said Mr. Lake, who was sitting in his kitchen when part of the ceiling collapsed on his head on Sept. 12.  “And it’s like everything is just backfiring.”

Authorities have struggled to make the Majestic’s owner, Morris Rubin, redress years of violations at the site. As Mr. Morris worked toward selling the building, recent months have seen some improvements to the building. Those include the restoration of hot water to parts of the building following a three-week drought in August and the installation of a main entrance door with a lock.

Still, the building has accumulated 750 open housing violations, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

That authority is monitoring the Majestic as part of its 7A program for buildings that pose a danger to tenants. 

In addition, HPD has spent $53,700 on emergency repairs at the Majestic since 2003, although it was not clear whether those funds included the recent improvements.

Residents complain of ongoing problems, with Mr. Lake attributing a dismissive attitude to Mr. Rubin in discussions over the issues.

“The owner himself has looked at me in my face and said, ‘You feel this building has so many problems, move out,’” Mr. Lake said. “Like it’s that easy.”

The Majestic’s superintendent and Rapid Realty, which brokered a number of residents’ leases at the building, did not reply to requests for comment. 

Mr. Rubin could not be reached to comment for this article.

Mr. Lake said prior to the collapse of his kitchen ceiling, he had complained about ceiling leaks to Mr. Rubin, who promised repairs that never came.

Mr. Lake said he is in consultations with a lawyer. 

HPD says there are currently eight court cases against Mr. Rubin.

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