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Brooklyn Families Say Landlord Trashed Their Homes In Attempt To Force Them Out

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- Two Brooklyn families claim that their landlord is trying to force them out of their rent-stabilized apartments.

They told CBS 2's Alice Gainer that he started repairs months ago but never finished, leaving their apartments in a state of disrepair.

"This is my kitchen, what's left of it," Noelia Calero said as she showed CBS 2's cameras around the apartment that she has live in for 23 years.

There is a gaping hole in the floor with beams exposed and debris scattered about. Her trashed bathroom offers a view of neighbor Michele's kitchen.

There are dead rodents and bugs all over and the two families have been forced to share a neighbor's kitchen and bathroom.

"This is inhumane," Michele Crespo said, "I have kids and a family."

The women live at 98 Linden Street in Brooklyn. They said that their landlord came by in June with a sledgehammer and saws to make repairs, but for the past eight months the apartments have been a mess.

The women told CBS 2's Gainer that they both pay under $700 in rent and that the landlord wants them gone.

"This is a rent stabilized apartment and he wants to raise the rent," Calero said.

The women filed a lawsuit to have their landlord repair the apartments.

"To have him correct, basically repair, the apartment. He signed an agreement back in August to do the repairs and has not done them and so now we're in the midst of a contempt hearing," Co-Director, Housing Unit Legal Services, Brent Meltzer explained.

The Department of Housing Preservation said that the landlord, Joel Israel of Linden Ventures LLC, has 85 housing code violations on this property and more for others.

Under these conditions it's hard to believe that anyone would stay, but these families said that they aren't going anywhere.

"No, this is our home," Calero said, "We've lived here for many years."

They hope to stay for many more.

Calls by CBS 2 to the landlord, his lawyer, and the management company  have not been returned.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development is also suing the landlord for the open violations.

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