Bronx Landlord Arrested, Jailed for Hundreds of Violations
Scott Klocksin June 23, 2014, 7:20 p.m.
The owner of two multi-unit apartment buildings in the Bronx was arrested on June 9 after his two buildings accrued 343 building violations, according to a statement released today by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
The landlord, Mohammed Kayyali, is serving two concurrent six-month sentences for a failure to address the violations in a timely manner, according to the statement.
“If you don’t have the desire or capacity to keep your buildings in good repair and honor your legal obligation to provide safe, decent housing to your tenants–don’t be a landlord,” HPD Commissioner Vicki Been said in a prepared statement.
According to city records, one of the buildings, 974 Anderson Avenue, last changed owners in May of 1995. The other, 1920 Loring Place South, an 11-unit building, was last sold in December 2003.
The 343 violations include “broken or defective plastered surfaces” and carbon monoxide detectors that were found to be in unsatisfactory condition at the building on Loring Place South.
The agency says it ate the cost of more than $161,146 in emergency repairs to address hazardous conditions at Mr. Kayyali’s two Bronx buildings.
Mr. Kayyali was hit with civil penalties of $75,080 in March 2013 and this January $418,200 in fines were levied against him, HPD said.
According to his lawyer, who asked not to be named, Mr. Kayyali is in police custody at the Manhattan Detention Complex in Lower Manhattan, where he will remain until he either arranges for the required repairs to be carried out at his two buildings, or his sentence of up to six months is completed.
The 83-year-old landlord contends that he has corrected any violations and that he was arrested erroneously due to a failure of city agencies to update their computer systems, his attorney said.
“Mr. Kayyali is in jail because he has failed in his responsibility as an owner, failed on numerous occasions to comply with court orders to make the repairs and forced his tenants to live in deplorable conditions,” an HPD spokesman said.