Legal Aid Settles Lawsuit Against Brooklyn Landlord Accused of Harassing and Discriminating Against Immigrant Tenants

The Legal Aid Society settled a federal lawsuit today in a case against a Sunset Park, Brooklyn landlord for discrimination and harassment.

The lawsuit filed by the Legal Aid Society as a class action complaint alleged that for over a decade, Adel and Linda Eskander of Little City Realty LLC and Little Boy Realty LLC, engaged in discriminatory practices against Latino tenants, many of whom were long term rent-stabilized tenants, causing fear, intimidation, and displacement.

“In today’s increasingly anti-immigrant climate, we are proud to stand with these tenants to fight for their basic rights” said Sunny Noh, Supervising Attorney of the Tenant Rights Coalition at The Legal Aid Society. “This settlement delivers justice for these tenants and puts landlords across New York City on notice that this type of aggression will never be tolerated.”

This conduct and the consequent displacement led to the illegal deregulation of apartments and the loss of affordable housing. According to the Complaint, the Eskanders’ tactics included bringing baseless eviction proceedings against Latino tenants; subjecting residents to derogatory and offensive statements; and demanding that tenants provide immigration documentation upon renewing their leases. The tenants claimed that the landlords’ behavior was in violation of city, state and federal laws including the New York City Human Rights Law, the New York City Housing Maintenance Code, Rent Stabilization Law and Code, and the federal Fair Housing Act.

Settlement specifics:

  • Discontinue using discriminatory lease riders that ask for citizenship status
  • Re-register the deregulated apartments as rent stabilized
  • Decrease rents charged between 4% and 20%
  • Freeze rents at vacancy for 3 years
  • Employ a management company approved by the tenants and Legal Aid to operate the buildings
  • Undergo Fair Housing trainings

Legal Aid was assisted in the action by pro bono counsel Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP.

 

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