EAST NEW YORK (WABC) --Residents in Brooklyn are fighting their landlord over a building they say is falling apart, all while he tries to raise their rent.
The tenants say the landlord is illegally charging more than he should, and a rally was held Thursday.
Tammy Kainessie lives with her disable mother in one of six units at 650 New Jersey Avenue in East New York.
"By not repairing he's trying to push us out," she said. "When it rains, it leaks. It does not leak out clear water, it leaks out brown water."
She, along with the other families living in the building, are going after their landlord, Michael Slochowsky. Lawyers representing the tenants in a lawsuit say he allegedly deregulated their rent-controlled apartments as far back as 2002 and is trying to hike up the rent for a building in disrepair.
"They were recognized as rent stabilized, but through these successive false registrations, he was able to artificially inflate them," said Jim McCormick, of South Brooklyn Legal Services, Legal Services New York. "To the point that they were raised over $2,000 and taken out of rent stabilization."
For months and in some cases years, tenants have been complaining about banisters that are barely connected to the walls and large holes in the ceiling that drip water every time it rains.
"The stick, we keep up there, because you can come climb on this fire escape, and you can lift it right up and come in if you want," Kainessie said. "It does not lock, and it falls out...It has been like this for three years."
There are dangerous holes in railings, and tenants say the front door lock malfunctions, sometimes locking residents in or out. Eyewitness News attempted to contact the landlord but have not heard back.
According to the city, he has nearly 200 violations connected to the building. Slochowsky owns other buildings in Brooklyn, with dozens of tenants, also with violations.
"It's the state of New York that governs rent regulations, and the state of New York does very little oversight of what landlords are doing," said Judith Goldiner, of the Legal Aid Society.