Media outlets have dubbed James Caban “the worst landlord” in the Bronx for his underhanded tactics and failure to safeguard his tenants’ basic safety by ignoring several New York City building code violations. Caban, a former NYPD officer who was terminated after a brutality scandal in 1997, owns 1547 Commonwealth Ave. The building is a 12-unit structure that has over 300 open violations and is currently ranked as one of the 200 most distressed buildings in the entire city. Building code violations include unsafe conditions in the apartments and the presence of toxic materials yet Caban has repeatedly failed to respond to tenant complaints and official reprimands from the city.
Indeed, after numerous complaints, the City did step in and ordered Caban to make emergency repairs himself. However, the bad landlord plead poverty and failed to so. Tenants say that Caban has plenty of money-is, in fact, taking their rent money and funneling it into repairing a defunct nightclub on the first floor of the building-but still chooses to ignore their health and safety.
The City ultimately footed the bill for $115,000 worth of necessary repairs just to make the structure meet the bare minimum requirements for habitation. The expenditures included fixing hazardous water leaks, removing toxic lead, and providing fuel for the boilers-which are the only heat source for the entire structure.
Earlier this month, a Bronx Housing Court Judge issued a warrant for Caban’s arrest, citing his repeated failure to respond to official mandates and his inability to even attempt repair requests issued by City inspectors. Caban faces 30 days in jail but, as yet, the NYPD has failed to catch him.
Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas from NYC’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development said that officials take such violations very seriously and the courts were attempting to make an example of Caban. “If you neglect your property and your tenants, disregard your legal responsibilities, and defy court orders,” she said. “We will seek the maximum penalties available under the law.”
The Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel have been standing up for tenant rights for more than a twenty-five years. If you or a loved one has been injured because of a landlord’s greed or inability to provide a safe living environment, contact an expert New York City building code violation attorney today. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 for a free consultation to learn your rights.