A bitter feud has erupted between the owner of an E. 19th Street one-family home being rented out to three families, and neighbors who complain the renters constantly party, come and go at all hours, and do drugs in front of neighborhood children.
“They’re constantly smoking marijuana,” said Yitz Schlanger, who lives next door to the house between Avenues M and N.
Schlanger and other neighbors say they purchased property on the sleepy block thinking they’d be able to enjoy some peace and quiet, only to find they’re living beside a one-family house being used as full-blown apartment complex.
“It’s complete hell,” said Schlanger. “I have people coming and going all times of the night.”
But the home’s owner, Felix Derman, who began renting it out after he moved to Florida two years ago, says never received any complaints until Schlanger moved in and started stirring things up on the block.
“This guy bought the house close to me and that’s when the problem started,” said Derman.
Derman said that he can’t control his tenants, whom he says are actually good people.
“If he smokes, I can’t tell him not to smoke,” Derman said. “This is America.”
The Department of Buildings has registered several complaints regarding the property’s sub-division.
The agency twice sent inspectors to Derman’s property in 2010, but were unable to gain access to the house. Since then, the city has apparently given up on verifying the neighbors’ claims, and that makes Schlanger angry.
“Buildings does nothing, they’re useless,” Schlanger said.
Derman, who is selling the house, verified that three families live there — in the main house, the basement, and a garage area in the rear.
Derman claims the arrangement is on the up-and-up. However, the Buildings Department’has no record of any permits allowing the property to be subdivided.
And Schlanger isn’t the only one upset about the de facto apartment complex.
“They have an illegal apartment in the garage. They have an illegal apartment in the basement. They probably have an illegal apartment in the bathroom,” said Shimon Kahn, who lives nearby.
Reach reporter Colin Mixson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (718) 260-4514.