Schenectady landlord fined $85,400 for code violations in apartments
SCHENECTADY A landlord who rented out units with broken windows, leaky ceilings and holes in the walls was fined $85,400 for code violations Monday.
Landlord Edward Kahn was found guilty of 254 code violations at 33 Swan St. after a two-day trial before City Court Judge Mark Blanchfield.
Deputy Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico, who prosecuted the case, said the large fine sent a “clear message” to landlords.
“The city of Schenectady takes prosecutions of building code cases seriously and we will ensure that those responsible for the violations are held accountable,” he said.
Kahn attempted in court to prove that he was no longer the owner of the building, presenting a deed that showed him passing ownership to Ana A. Acosta on Jan. 18, 2012.
Inspectors first cited the building in February 2012.
Blanchfield noted in his written decision that the deed was not filed with the county clerk until June 4, 2012. He also noted that inspector Heidi Pashley testified that Kahn was present at almost all of her site visits, used his own keys to unlock apartments, paid a $500 fine and communicated with the Codes Department to schedule an inspection.
Pashley also provided photographs of broken windows, garbage strewn throughout the yard and a deteriorated interior ceiling.
She testified that she observed leaking ceilings in the second-floor rear apartment, as well as holes in the walls and floors, and an unattached bathroom vanity in the first floor rear apartment. She said she also saw holes under the kitchen and bathroom sinks and a leaking ceiling in a rear enclosed porch.
Kahn continued to rent out the apartments despite a year of code violations, Blanchfield wrote.
Pashley also testified that she caught him building a deck without a permit in May, 2012. But Blanchfield said she couldn’t prove that he had begun work before she arrived, and acquitted Kahn on those charges.
Blanchfield acquitted Kahn of 100 code violations, saying that Pashley could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that there were holes in walls and ceilings from Feb. 1 to May 10, 2012. But he wrote that Pashley was able to prove, through photographs, that the conditions existed from May 17 through June 4, 2012.
Pashley said the problems were finally corrected, after multiple inspections, in January 2013.
Blanchfield convicted Kahn on 118 counts of having broken windows; 100 counts of leaving garbage in open areas; 18 counts of allowing holes in interior walls and floors; and 18 counts of general code violations.
The garbage counts turned out to be the most expensive. Under city code guidelines for fines, Kahn was charged $500 a day for the garbage, and only $100 a day for the broken windows and other code violations. He must pay the city by July 31.
Kahn could not be reached for comment for this story.