Legal Aid Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Unscruplous Brooklyn Landlord For Discriminating Against Immigrant Tenants

The Legal Aid Society filed a class action lawsuit in the United States Eastern District Court of New York against Little City Realty LLC and Little Boy Realty LLC, operated by Adel and Linda Eskander, on behalf of tenants at two buildings in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.

For decades, the Eskanders have engaged in egregious discriminatory practices against Latino tenants, many of whom are long term rent stabilized tenants, causing fear, intimidation and displacement, and consequently reducing the local stock of affordable units. More than 50 percent of the apartments in these two properties are believed to have been fraudulently deregulated by management from 2007 to 2009.

The landlord’s tactics include baseless eviction proceedings against Latino tenants; subjecting residents to derogatory and offensive statements; and demanding that tenants provide immigration documentation upon renewing their leases. The landlords’ unscrupulous behavior flies in the face of city, state and federal laws including the New York City Human Rights Law, the New York City Housing Maintenance Code, Rent Stabilization Law and Code, and the federal Fair Housing Act.

“For decades, the Eskanders have bullied rent-regulated immigrant tenants to vacate their homes and refused to make much needed repairs to bolster their bottom line,” said Sunny Noh, Supervising Attorney of the Tenant Rights Coalition at The Legal Aid Society. “Their unchecked reign of terror on vulnerable Brooklynites stops today. Years of unconscionable, malevolent and illegal behavior will catch up with them and they will soon reap what they’ve sown in federal court.”

Also of note:

  • The Eskanders are repeat offenders, having previously been sued by Legal Services of New York in 2003 for demanding that tenants provide immigration documentation upon renewing their leases.
  • Since being sued in 2003, the Eskanders have expanded their harassment to include making, or threatening to make, frivolous complaints to City agencies, including the NYPD and the Administration for Children’s Services.

This litigation seeks: declaratory, injunctive and equitable relief, namely enjoining the Eskanders from further discrimination and harassment of Latino tenants and recognizing the rent stabilized rights of all tenants; as well as damages.

This lawsuit was filed in conjunction with Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP serving as pro bono counsel. The Tenant Rights Coalition of The Legal Aid Society's Brooklyn Neighborhood Office is funded by the New York City Human Resources Administration.

“I applaud the Legal Aid Society’s support of Sunset Park residents who are standing up for their rights with a class action lawsuit. The Eskanders and their like have flouted the law and forced people from their homes for far too long. Our affordable housing crisis is accelerated when rent stabilized apartments are lost through unethical and unlawful landlord tactics. “Eviction by construction,” withholding heat and hot water, failure to make basic repairs and tenant bullying must stop. Landlords throughout New York City are on notice: your illegal and inhumane harassment of tenants will be severely punished,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.