City intensifies enforcement at 250 apartment buildings with 40,000 open violations

March 2, 2022

Photo by Daniel Lee on Unsplash

New York City will increase enforcement at 250 apartment buildings that together have roughly 40,000 open housing maintenance code violations. The city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development on Tuesday announced the buildings, which include more than 5,000 households, will be placed in the city’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP), which aims to hold bad landlords accountable and improve living conditions for tenants.

“All New Yorkers deserve safe, well-maintained homes, and landlords across the city need to know that if they are unwilling to do what is right to provide that, we will take action,” HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión, Jr. said.

“The Alternative Enforcement Program is an effective set of tools at our disposal to hold landlords accountable when they don’t do right by their tenants, and we are not afraid to use them if it means getting the city’s most troubled buildings into shape quickly.”

The 250 buildings have nearly 40,000 open housing code violations including 9,442 immediately hazardous (Class C) violations, 21,821 hazardous (Class B), and 8,327 non-hazardous (Class A). Class C violations include mold, evidence of rodents, lead-based paint, and the lack of heat, hot water, or electricity. Class B violations include problems like leaks or holes.

The city selects multi-family buildings each year that have several hazardous housing maintenance code violations and places them in AEP. In order for a building to be removed from AEP, owners within four months of being notified must correct all class “c” violations, system replacements, pay outstanding fees, and submit a valid property registration statement.

Brooklyn has the highest number of buildings placed in the program, with 119 buildings and 1,837 homes, followed by the Bronx with 72 buildings, Manhattan with 43 buildings, and Queens with 16. The full list can be found here.

More than 50 buildings placed in the program during this round are associated with owners listed on the public advocate’s annual Worst Landlord Watchlist in 2021. According to Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, the worst landlord in the city is David Schorr, who amassed an average of 1,442 open violations across 17 buildings featured on the 2021 watchlist. The list also puts the New York City Housing Authority as the worst overall landlord in the city for its 600,480 open work orders last year.

“New York City tenants deserve to live in healthy housing, and there comes a time when government must directly step in to intervene on behalf of tenants and hold landlords accountable for hazardous conditions. Round 15 of the Alternative Enforcement Program will do just this,” Council Member Pierina Sanchez, who is chair of the Housing and Buildings Committee, said.

“AEP is a powerful tool to hold negligent landlords accountable while improving conditions for thousands of tenants in 250 buildings located in predominantly low and moderate-income, immigrant, Black and Brown neighborhoods. I commend the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development for recognizing tenant distress and working to ensure needs are met.”

If repairs are not made within four months, HPD may facilitate emergency repairs at the owner’s expense. Repair bills are transferred to the Department of Finance and may result in a tax lien against the property, according to HPD.


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