Tenants forced from illegal apartments

September 24, 2009 9:38:54 PM PDT
What a shock for 30 people in Brooklyn who were ordered out of their apartments because they were illegal. The tenants apparently had no idea, but authorities say the owners did.

The former warehouse turned allegedly illegal condo is located at Banker Street in the Greenpoint section.

The Sweater Factory 'chic' lofts for 22-hundred dollars a month. What residents say they got was unfinished construction and violations so severe, the building has been shut down.

"I think the landlord knew about this and didn't do anything to fix it," resident Eric Pier said.

The full vacate order forces dozens of residents out on the street. Most say they will stay with friends. Sam Mandel just moved here three weeks ago from Los Angeles.

"I moved in September 1 and I didn't have hot water until September 9 and there's still no heat in the building," he said.

The vacate order says that the building at 239 Banker Street lacks a proper second exit and that the sprinkler system wasn't working. We went inside and found large holes in the brick walls, hanging wires, and sets of stairs with no railings.

"The apartments themselves are not so bad. It's more the problems we've had with the landlord," Ben Lifshitz said.

The landlord tells Eyewitness News he hopes to have the necessary repairs made to get residents back within the next day or two. For now, no one is allowed in here except to gather their belongings.

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