A Deceased Tenant; a ‘Strong, Foul Smell’; and a Police Padlock

Photo: Google Maps

The owners of a multi-family building in Greenpoint are suing the New York City Police Department claiming that they’ve been locked out of the apartment of a deceased tenant for eight months because of a police seal. The lawsuit, filed by landlords Jane and Darien Chrostowski, states that the apartment at 99 Russell has been padlocked since last July, when their former tenant, John Macek, passed away while at home. As Patch reported, though the body was later removed, the Chrostowskis claim that the police seal has left them unable to access or clean the apartment, and say that their remaining tenants have been complaining about a “strong, foul smell” coming from the unit.

According to the suit, Macek lived in the apartment for over 30 years, but no one has been appointed to his estate due to court delays. And while landlords are required to ensure that buildings are clean and well-maintained (in theory), the NYPD seal has kept them out, unable to address what they claim is a foul smell emanating from “spoiled food, perishable items, toilets, and/or other sources that are currently unknown to the Plaintiffs.” The apartment was first sealed last summer during a record heat wave and the lawsuit claims that Macek was a hoarder. (Photos attached to the suit from the inside of the apartment show stacks of boxes and clutter.) The Chrostowskis claim they have lost other tenants due to their inability to clean the unit, and that they can hear “sounds of the rodents coming from the ceiling.”

The landlords are requesting immediate access to the unit, so they can “clean, remove garbage, potentially fumigate and exterminate, clean up the possible fluids from the body, and to remove any spoiled food and perishable items.”

A Deceased Tenant, a ‘Foul Smell,’ and a Police Padlock