Yvette Hyman’s home in Queens
A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor who lost her family home in France while hiding from the Nazis claims a pair of sinister squatters tried to take her vacation home in Queens.
Recently widowed Yvette Hyman agreed to let neighbors Sarah and Howard Kindler rent her three-story, four-bedroom home in Rockaway Beach for a below-market price for six months, believing the family had been displaced by Hurricane Sandy.
In reality, the Kindlers’ Rockaway Beach Boulevard house got through the storm just fine, Hyman claims in court papers. The couple just wanted to renovate their home, and while doing so stayed in Hyman’s residence for two years rent-free, she charges a Queens Supreme Court lawsuit against the couple.
As a teenager in Nazi-occupied France, Hyman’s family hid from the Germans and lost their home after the friend entrusted to oversee the house refused to return it.
She relived a version of the nightmare in 2014 when the Kindlers “tricked her into leasing them her home in the wake of Super Storm Sandy, and then refused to pay or leave as promised,” Hyman said in court papers.
The Hyman family spent their summers in the Rockaways since the 1960s, but Hyman needed to sell their Beach 144th Street home to fund her retirement after the death of her husband.
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In 2014, the sympathetic nonagenarian agreed to allow the Kindlers to rent — charging just $2,000 a month for the spacious house, when the Sandy-soaked market could have netted her $5,000 a month, she claims. But she told them they needed to be out by September 2014 so Hyman could sell it, the lawsuit claims.
After 18 months, the Kindlers were still there, refusing to leave, and stopped paying rent altogether, according to court papers.
The Kindlers squatted in Hyman’s home for another 21 months, until April, nearly sinking her efforts to sell the place and leaving Hyman in “a real estate limbo.”
“This was a mitzvah and they certainly did not treat it as such,” Hyman’s lawyer, Michael Strage, told The Post. “They gummed up the works to their own advantage.”
The couple was eventually evicted, and Hyman was able to sell the home. Hyman is seeking more than $1 million in damages and plans to give at least some of the potential cash to help charities that give housing to underprivileged Jewish families.