New York City Public Advocate Letitia James released this year’s annual “Worst Landlords Watchlist” Thursday at a tenants’ rights rally in lower Manhattan. The interactive database lists the top 100 building owners who have racked up the most violations (like rats, roaches and dirty elevators, to name just a few) relative to the number of buildings they own. This data is gathered from the Department of Buildings and Department of Housing. Three of the city’s five worst landlords according to the list have been on it for two years in a row. The top three offenders–Harry D. Silverstein, Allan Goldman, and Efstathios Valiotis–own buildings throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens. Silverstein received 2,032 HPD violations and 50 DOB violations over 575 units in eight buildings.
Designed to hold the city’s worst landlords accountable and to empower tenants and advocates, the Watchlist also includes the 20 worst buildings from each borough (the highest number of buildings on the list are in Brooklyn and Manhattan). For the first time this year the Watchlist includes Department of Building (DOB) violations and Department of Finance (DOF) data on tax liens.
— Tish James (@TishJames) October 13, 2016
“The Landlord Watchlist is a critically-important resource for tenants, advocates and elected officials,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It helps us enforce our laws and, ultimately, ensure that landlords provide the safe and decent homes New Yorkers are entitled to.”
Does the list–which may contain inaccuracies due to, for example, repairs that have been made but not yet updated in the database–do any good? Seven of the landlords on last year’s list are no longer in the top ten; three of them no longer appear on the list at all. Four of these landlords have moved lower on the list due to improvements in their buildings.
“The landlords on the Worst Landlord Watchlist don’t usually make the list because of sloppy management practices or by accident,” said Benjamin Dulchin, Executive Director of Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, Inc. “They make the list because too often they have a strategy to intentionally push tenants out of their affordable apartments in order to drive the rents up quickly.”
The full list is available here.
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Lead image courtesy of public advocate’s office.