Francis Roberts claims his place of refuge has turned into a living nightmare.
The New York Times reports the 77-year-old has been residing at his Crown Heights building for over two decades.
Now, outside of his apartment, Mr. Roberts claims one will find squatters, trash, and even chickens sprawled across his lawn or in front of his door. What’s more, he says his living experience has only worsened after portable clogged toilets were allegedly placed by his bedroom windows.
“It has been hell,” Mr. Roberts said, according to The New York Times.
Mr. Roberts hasn’t seen any action from the landlord to remediate the situation, and he believes it is due to the desire to hike up the price of his apartment.
Currently, Mr. Roberts is only paying $450 per month.
The neighbor is allegedly believed to be working with the landlord: Mr. Roberts alleges the landlord has been working with his neighbor, Aaron Akaberi, to force him out in hopes of changing his living space to market-rate rent. In a lawsuit, he claims Mr. Akaber is responsible for welcoming drug use and squatting at the property.
Maria Florez, another neighbor on the property, has been a bystander in the squabble between Mr. Roberts and Mr. Akaber. She alleges Mr. Akaber has music playing “24/7,” and she believes his tactics appear to be a “torture method” aimed at Mr. Roberts.
Mr. Roberts also claims he woke up to find a random individual at his computer desk, and the next day Mr. Akaberi was outside his entryway using a barbecue grill.
Additionally, he claims a man was found roaming his hallways even after the installation of new security doors.
Eventually, the tents and portable bathrooms were reportedly removed.
“I just want to make my apartment habitable and to live in peace,” Mr. Roberts told The New York Times. “That’s all I want.”
Now, Mr. Roberts is suing 972 Park Place L.L.C., the company responsible for purchasing the building for $1.3 million. The lawsuit aims to address and resolve 240 violations that include lead paint chips, mold, sewage backup, and broken doors, among others.
In addition, Mr. Roberts is looking for civil penalties against the landlord, who still claims he will make improvements to Mr. Roberts’ apartment once he moves into a rent-regulated apartment.