From the Brooklyn Paper:
City inspectors ordered dozens of Williamsburg artists out of their decrepit loft building on Thursday — and now the tenants are suing their landlord, claiming that they had no idea they were living in an illegal warehouse space with hundreds of building code violations.
The building, on Metropolitan Avenue near Lorimer Street, houses 40 or 50 residents in lofts and studios, despite the fact that it’s zoned for commercial use and the owners have 157 open violations with the city.
Tenants said that Department of Buildings inspectors arrived in the morning and demanded that the residents leave by sundown — mostly because there hasn’t been an emergency exit or structurally sound stairs for years.
And the problems are actually worse than he could have imagined. The city has smacked the landlord with 64 structural violations — 63 of which were never resolved — since 1993, and the Environmental Control Board still has 94 open cases against the building, ranging from the building’s allegedly unsafe elevator and apparently blocked emergency exit, to reported structural dilapidation and illegally erected walls and rooms.
Department documents show that landlords filed for a permit on Oct. 6 to fix the place up, just a week before Thursday’s raid — but records show that the same owners have appealed to fix it up before, yet did no work.