Tenants: Landlord rented illegal apartment

A family that just moved from a shelter says it has been living in an illegal Morrisania basement apartment that is in need of renovations.

Peeling paint, holes in the walls, leaking ceilings and broken locks are just some of the complaints from the family that lives in the unit at 883 Cauldwell Ave.

The apartment's only two windows were boarded up over the weekend before Housing Preservation and Development inspectors came to the home to perform an inspection Monday. Tenants believe that this was done to make it appear as though the unit was unoccupied.

But the landlord said the windows were boarded because the building was being steam-cleaned and he didn't want the windows to be broken in the process.

"I didn't know I was living in an illegal apartment," said tenant Tirsa Castillo, who moved to the unit from a shelter with her two children last month. "Suddenly, they came to close the windows with plywood."

Castillo says she pays $1,050 a month to live in the unit.

According to a Department of Buildings certificate of occupancy, the basement should be part of the first floor unit, not a separate apartment. HPD inspectors found numerous violations when they returned Monday evening, according to Castillo.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."