Warning: If you buy a landmarked property, better keep it up, or get sued

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In an uncommon move, the city's Landmarks Preservation Commission has filed a lawsuit against the owner of a dilapidated 133-year-old house on Harlem's historic Astor Row, reports DNA Info.

According to city law, landmarked homes must remain in good repair. The commission is hoping to compel the owner of the property, who bought the three-story, red-brick home for just under $30,000 28 years ago, to rehab it. (Astor Row is on the south side of West 130th Street between Lenox Avenue and Fifth Avenue.)

The front lawn is apparently overgrown, interior floors and walls have collapsed and most of the roof is missing.  One neighbor told DNA Info that the home is also missing a gutter, causing rainwater to leak into the ceiling of his building. The house is boarded up and covered with graffiti. A “Keep Out” sign is affixed to the door, according to the site.

The current owner claims she is waiting to sell her Queens home in order to get the money she needs to renovate the Harlem home and move in.

The lawsuit asks a judge to fine her $5,000 a day until she renovates the home, which could decimate that renovation budget.


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Ask an Expert: Renovating in an about-to-be landmarked building