Williamsburg tenants say they've been locked out for years

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WILLIAMSBURG -

Tenants of a Williamsburg building who have been locked out of their apartments for years say they want their landlord to make necessary repairs so they can move back.

The tenants say their landlord removed the 79 Lorimer St. building's fire sprinkler system about 3 1/2 years ago. They were then vacated by the Department of Buildings because of the removed equipment.

Since then, the tenants took their landlord to court and won, but they're still locked out. When they were allowed to see their belongings, they found the building in ruins -- windows broken and furniture overturned.

Tenants say a judge agreed that the landlord was obligated to make the necessary repairs to bring the building up to code, but it never happened.

City Councilman Stephen Levin says the landlord broke those windows, allowing pigeons to take up residence in the building and spread their droppings everywhere.

In the meantime, some residents say they have been homeless and forced to live in vans or with friends.

The Department of Buildings tells News 12 in a statement: "The landlord needs to meet their responsibility to the tenants and their legal obligation to make the building safe. DOB will continue to monitor the situation, so that the landlord lives up to these obligations."

News 12 did not immediately hear back from the landlord for comment.

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