PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Residents of the Landmark condominium building in Port Chester are upset over their difficulty to sell their condos due to constraints they feel have been placed on them by the village’s building department.
The building and many of its units lack a certificate of occupancy, which is required to sell or refinance a unit. Many buildings in Port Chester lack certificates of occupancy, and the Building Department has been cracking down on violations in the last three years to bring more buildings up to code. Residents of the Landmark believe the village is constantly changing its requirements for what work must be completed on the building, which is preventing many from leaving.
Jerry Riggs has lived in the building for the last 11 years, and though his unit has an individual certificate of occupancy, he has still been unable to move. He said he has had a buyer interested in his unit, and wants to move for family reasons. “It is really becoming a very big financial distress to my family,” he said.
Resident Frank Troha, who has lived in the building for 14 years, has tried to sell twice in the last year but has been unable to because of the lack of a certificate. He said that he and other residents feel that they are being “held hostage” and that the village manager and Building Department should do something to expedite the process so that residents who need to move can do so.
“It’s affected my health, I’ve lost a lot of money, and I don’t see an end in sight,” Troha said.
Paola Cortona is a former resident of the building and a real estate broker for many of the residents. She said the building’s management has done a lot to comply with the Building Department’s requests, and have spent “thousand and thousands of dollars.” She said that the problem is that the department keeps adding new problems for the Landmark to fix.
“Every time there’s a re-inspection of something that has been taken care of, something else comes on the list that was not there last week, last month or last year,” she said. She said that there should be a temporary solution to allow residents to transfer their titles while the building is being brought up to code.
Village Manager Chris Steers says that the building has a number of violations that have held up the process. “The fire sprinkler system has not been tested and has not been operational for years. It’s an accident waiting to happen. The list of other violations associated with that same scenario goes on and on and on.”