NJ landlord confrontation over depraved building conditions goes viral
🔴 Two apartment buildings in North Jersey have been condemned, leaving tenants homeless
🔴 One landlord was confronted by reporters and tenants in heated exchanges
🔴 Tenants have been told they aren't getting their money back
PLAINFIELD — A landlord is facing the heat after hundreds of tenants at two North Jersey apartment buildings he owns have been forced to leave due to extreme safety issues.
Residents were shocked to see a red flyer posted on Tuesday that they had 24 hours to vacate their apartments at 501 and 515 West 7th Street in Plainfield. The notice of condemnation warned that the building was "unfit for human habitation" due to a lack of maintenance, reported MyCentralJersey.
Despite having just paid their rent for August, dozens of families are now homeless. They leave behind buildings that were cited for 235 violations in 2022 by state inspectors, Mayor Adrian Mapp said according to various reports.
Mice droppings on kitchen counters, collapsed sections of ceilings, broken windows, multiple leaks, and hazardous gas conductors were pervasive issues throughout the buildings, the mayor reportedly said. A sewage pipe in the basement was leaking sewage onto the floor.
The buildings are owned by Cyclone Investment Group, LLC, a real estate firm based in New York. Co-owner Charles Aryeh showed up at the building Wednesday where he was confronted by News 12 New Jersey’s Eliecer Marte.
"I understand. I feel terrible," Aryeh said when asked by Marte about the situation.
Tenants began to chime in during the interview. Marte gave an example of a woman who signed a contract three days to pay $3,000 a month in rent before the condemnation notice.
"That is horrible," Aryeh said. He then pointed to another man. "He's my contractor. We're going to get things done ASAP."
Aryeh was also confronted by tenants outside the apartment. He needed a police escort to get to his car and one woman pounded on the vehicle's window with such force that it broke, reported ABC 7 Eyewitness News.
Mayor Mapp said Plainfield was not aware of the building's issues until a tenant recently complained directly to the city. Tenants complained about the lack of sufficient notice to gather their belongings and find new places to live, News 12 NJ reported.
"We couldn't give three months because you can die in an explosion in one day," Mapp said.
The city has put eligible families up in hotel rooms for five days but they could be on their own after that. Plainfield has listed resources and services for the buildings' tenants on its Facebook page and the city website.
Cyclone told the building tenants that they won't be getting their rent payments back, reported CBS New York. The firm owns six buildings in Plainfield but four have already been condemned, the mayor said.
New Jersey 101.5 has reached out to Cyclone for comment. The firm gave a statement to other outlets Wednesday.
"We are doing everything possible to return our tenants to their homes as quickly, safely and responsibly as possible," the firm said.