BOSTON (CBS) – Boston housing officials know Anwar Faisal as the notorious landlord they’ve dealt with for decades.
“The ceiling actually, it was pouring water out. The ceiling actually fell,” Ava Moran, a Northeastern University student and former tenant, told WBZ-TV about her old apartment.
Most of Faisal’s tenants are college students, who may not even know his name, but are all too familiar with his company, Alpha Management. The signs are plastered across the city, with more than 2,000 apartments in Boston alone.
“This door was completely off its hinge,” said tenant Caroline Kardashian, who showed WBZ’s I-Team around her apartment. It had a wobbly railing and tiles missing from the bathroom floor. On move-in day, Kardashian said broken glass was strewn across the entryway.
When we caught up with Faisal to ask about the dozens of complaints filed against him, he referred us to his attorney.
The I-Team found more than 95 housing court cases filed against Faisal in the last decade. Some of the files include pictures of bedbugs and rodents. On top of that, the City of Boston received 63 complaints in the last year, including “squalid living conditions,” “sewage/septic back-up,” and more.
Faisal’s attorney sent us a statement, saying “In each reported case, Alpha Management has taken immediate steps to address the alleged violations and has cleared each one in a timely manner.”
Tenants describe recurring problems, like a lack of security.
“We had another homeless person break in, he was sleeping. The cops had to come for that,” said former tenant Bridget Moran. Her sister Ava added, “We had to awkwardly step over him.”
The I-Team found moldy ceiling tiles and smoke detectors hanging by wires. When we discovered students living in an illegal basement apartment, the Inspectional Services checked into it.
“There were some code considerations that needed to be done. Those code issues were fully addressed, so the environment is safe now,” Inspectional Services Commissioner William Christopher.
The Moran sisters called police when they found what looked like peep holes drilled from a boiler room with a view right into their bedrooms. They filed a complaint in housing court, a case that’s still pending. After they withheld rent on their attorney’s advice, Alpha Management evicted them.
“Everything had failed my kids,” said their mother Sue Moran. “I don’t want it to happen to other people’s kids.”
City officials say Faisal’s tactics have actually improved in recent years. He’s even earned certificates allowing Boston to streamline inspections on his properties, which is something normally reserved only for landlords in good standing.
“I believe Anwar had some management issues in the beginning. I think he’s addressed a lot of them,” said Christopher.
But from some of those paying the rent, it’s a very different story.
“I am very surprised they have not cracked down on this landlord and landlords like him,” said Sue Moran.
“It’s students. They don’t care. They’re here for a year,” said Kardashian. What do her parents think? “They were so mad,” she said.
Commissioner Christoper says one reason tenant complaints are up is that the city has made it easier for tenants to report problems by phone or the 311 app. He says it’s the best way to hold landlords responsible.