Jared Kushner Hit With ‘Slumlord’ Scandal – ‘Mold, Sewage, Dead Animals, & Insects’ Found

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Millions of people rent their homes all over the United States. Moving into your first apartment is a wonderful experience, and a major milestone for most. Getting the keys to your first place fills you with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Choosing who to rent from is a very important thing to consider when beginning your search; no one knows that more than Jared Kushner’s former tenants.

Jared Kushner, prior to being Donald Trump’s senior advisor, was a callous landlord to the tenants of his Somerville complex in Massachusetts. Kushner purchased the Somerville complex in 2002, early that year, Kushner set out to flip the complex and sell the units as condominiums. At the time Dan Neafsey and his three roommates were living in the first floor apartment. Their new landlord Kushner, wanted to renovate the apartment and put it on the market. Kushner stated that the work would be taking place while the apartment was occupied by Neafsey and his roommates. Neafsey sensing that something was wrong looked up Somerville regulations and tenant law, and discovered that their lease prevented such work. Neafsey with his roommates, however, agreed as long as Kushner would give them a break on their $1,850 rent. Kushner responded by saying he would take a hundred dollars off. Neafsey said:

‘My impression was that he was more interested in practicing playing hardball than being effective as a landlord.’

During the time that Kushner worked as a landlord for his father in Somerville, Kushner amassed 25 housing complaints from his tenants. Including complaints about: pests, overflowing dumpsters and sewage odors. One tenant wrote in a complaint to the city:

‘Strong sewage smell in apartment coming from basement.’

Another tenant complained that there was:

‘Mold, smell of dead animals, [and] infestation of insects.’

Another tenant of Kushner’s said:

‘We had the misfortune of being the first tenants to fight a landlord as vindictive and crooked as Kushner Companies.’

Massachusetts state sanitary code clearly indicates that a landlord must respond to their tenants complaints. The code states:

‘If a landlord does not respond to a tenant’s complaints about a Sanitary Code violation, the tenant may request that a code enforcement officer or the local board of health inspect the apartment. An inspector can then come to the apartment, review the conditions, and order the landlord to fix the problem if deemed necessary. In the event that the landlord still fails to fix the problem, a tenant may be able to withhold a portion of the rent or move out, even if there is a lease or rental agreement in place. M.G.L. c. 111, § 198; 105 C.M.R. 410. However, before either withholding rent or moving out, tenants considering these options should contact a private lawyer or legal services for more information and advice.’

It was only after numerous complaints to the city, that Kushner addressed the issues. Jennifer Douglas, a former tenant said:

‘My impression of him as landlord was he didn’t know what he was doing. He wasn’t out to be a slumlord or harm somebody deliberately. But he didn’t really care about tenants either. It was just, “This is my building now. I want to do condo conversions.” I was unable to negotiate with that guy. He was just unbending.’

Featured Image via Getty/Chip Somodevilla