A notorious Bay Ridge landlord has more than a half dozen properties in foreclosure — a move that has neighborhood preservationists cheering.
Two mortgage companies that loaned Mousa Khalil $1.5 million during the housing bubble claim the landlord is now $2.35 million in arrears on seven of his homes. As a result, his properties, which can be found on Ridge Boulevard and 82nd Street, are being put up for auction this week.
Khalil says he’s trying to block the foreclosures.
“I have my lawyer working on it,” he said.
Yet neighborhood preservationists want Khalil to let the properties go — so they can be bought by people who will take care of them.
“[Khalil’s] destroying the neighborhood block by block,” said Victoria Hofmo of the Bay Ridge Preservation Society. “He either guts the buildings or lets them lay fallow.”
According to city records, Congregation Imrei Yehuda and a company called Parkay LLC loaned Khalil the money in 2006 for a blanket mortgage on all seven properties.
Khalil claimed that he was up to date on his mortgages, but fell behind in 2008 after his Sunset Park plumbing supply business took a hit. He also says he’s been tied up in expensive court battles with a handful of former tenants who didn’t pay rent.
Now, he can’t afford to keep up, he says.
“These people are charging me 24 percent interest,” he said. “I’ve been paying them on time [until 2008].”
Imrei Yehuda spokesman Meyer Unsdorfer did not return calls for comment.
Khalil owns 30 homes in Bay Ridge. He made headlines back in 2010 when the Department of Buildings shut down an illegal hostel he was running out of a 94th Street home. City workers raided the home to find 40 beds throughout the house, which was being used by several companies that provide housing for foreign students.
But that’s the most use Khalil’s buildings have seen: many of his properties are vacant, Hofmo said.
“[Khalil’s homes are] a disaster,” she explained. “Most of them were not occupied.”
Hofmo says that the zoning laws prevent high rise condos from being built throughout most of Bay Ridge, so she isn’t worried about developers scooping up and razing Khalil’s properties.
“I’m concerned about who is going to buy them, and whether they are going to let the properties lay fallow,” she said.
Neighbors of the mainly vacant houses have long complained that Khalil would rather let his homes rot away than sell them.
Yet, according to the city, most of Khalil’s homes are in good shape. The Department of Buildings has only taken action on one of Khalil’s homes: it placed a vacate order on his Ridge Boulevard property last year after the garage to the home, which was built in 1899, collapsed and cinderblocks were thrown into the neighbor’s yard.
Khalil says he’s trying to sell some of his properties, but complains he can’t find any buyers.
The median sale price for a home in Bay Ridge is about $673,000, according to the website Trulia.com, which tracks real estate prices.
Khalil’s homes range from a $733,000 property on Ridge Boulevard between 77th and 78th streets to a $1.1 million home on 82nd Street between Colonial Road and Ridge Boulevard. Khalil bought that property for $960,000 in 2005, according to city records.
©2012 Community News Group
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