The many properties owned by Joseph Klein have a history of building code, fire and safety violations. He was cited for the Nanuet property 15 months ago when firefighters trying to put out a fire discovered the property, located at 149 Pipetown Hill Road, had been illegally subdivided.
New Square Hasid Slumlord Fined $5,000 For Illegally Converting House To Apartment Building
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A New Square hasidic slumlord has been fined $5,000 for illegally subdividing a single family home in Nanuet into individual apartments.
The many properties owned by Joseph Klein have a history of building code, fire and safety violations. The Journal News reports that Klein was cited for the Nanuet property 15 months ago when firefighters trying to put out a fire discovered the property, located at 149 Pipetown Hill Road, had been illegally subdivided.
Illegal subdivisions and other illegal construction is potentially dangerous for firefighters, who can be trapped by unexpected walls and blocked or walled off doors. They are also often dangerous for the tenants, who face obstacles when trying to evacuate and who may have fewer than the required number of exits available to them. Additionally, because illegal work is not checked by building inspectors, electrical wiring and other work may be subpar, as well.
Eventually Klein was issued violations for failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy for the property and for noncompliance with an order to restore it to a legal single family home.
When Klein didn’t pay he was sued by Nanuet. Months of court delays ended when Klein finally agreed to pay $5,000, half of the $10,000 the town was suing him for. The settlement mandates that Klein pay the entire $5,000 by April 10 – a scheduled court date for the lawsuit against him.
“If he pays the fine, he doesn’t have to appear in court. If he doesn’t, he has to appear,” Nanuet’s deputy attorney reportedly said.
Klein’s attorney said the agreement does not include admissions by Klein to any of the violations.
“This is a civil compromise that makes the town happy and satisfies everyone’s concerns about safety and health issues,” he said.
Klein has a long history covering more than a decade of being cited by municipalities and Rockland County for illegally subdividing houses into apartments, creating illegal boarding houses, and for allowing violations of fire and safety codes to remain unpaid.
Last year, Klein was reportedly fined $20,000 for violations at 14 of his Spring Valley properties. He pleaded guilty to those violations and was required to restore six illegally converted apartment buildings and boarding houses back to single-family homes. He also agreed to pay $1,000 a month until the fines were paid in full.
[Hat Tip: Devorah.]