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Howard helps tenant after landlord allegedly won’t fix water damage from fire

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When neighborhoods get better, not everyone is happy. At least not longtime residents who face the prospects of soaring rent. Rent stabilization is supposed to protect them.

But what if landlords want them out?

“There was a fire upstairs about four months ago and we received all the water damage.”

That’s what 21-year-old Magda Ramos said. She’s lived in a Bedford Stuyvesant apartment all her life.

Now she’s there with her mom, her sister and her infant niece and the place isn’t fit for anyone. It’s down to the boards in many places. The landlord seems to have no inclination to fix anything.

HOWARD: “Magda, why do you think the landlord is taking so long to make the repairs?”

MAGDA: “Well, because he wants to kick us out and that way he can fix it up again and charge more for the rent.”

HOWARD: It’s a rent stabilized apartment?

MAGDA: “It is.”

Magda and her family have been to the city and been to court. But they can’t get their place fixed.

So we went looking for the landlord.

According to court papers his name is Chaim Goldberg. But the tenants aren’t sure who he is. They think he could be a building manager they know as “Henry.”

And guess what, the landlord’s listed address has a note saying it’s not a business, but check next door at the mailbox store. So Magda and I went over there. Some guy behind the counter briefly held a towel in front of his face and then walked away.

But while I’m busy looking for the landlord, there is some good news for Magda. A judge gave the landlord – whoever he really is – until the end of the month to make the repairs. We’ll see.