Upper Manhattan Has the Borough's Worst Landlords, Report Says

By Jeff Mays on December 28, 2011 7:22pm 

All but 11 of Manhattan's worst landlords own buildings in Washington Heights, Inwood and Harlem, according to a watch list issued by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
All but 11 of Manhattan's worst landlords own buildings in Washington Heights, Inwood and Harlem, according to a watch list issued by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Patrick Hedlund

HARLEM — A vast majority of Manhattan's worst buildings are in Washington Heights, Inwood and Harlem, according to a watch list issued by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, which details the worst landlords and their properties citywide.

Some 45 of the borough's 56 buildings included on the list — for violations ranging from mold to lead paint — are located in the area, according to the report. Four of the five with the worst record are in Harlem, one is in Washington Heights and all have at least 240 violations each, the report said.

Topping the list is 307 W. 153 St. in Harlem, which has racked up 398 violations, while the second worst building, at 206 Audubon Ave., has 367 violations, according to the list.

The landlord who has racked up the most violations citywide is Josh Neustein of 1071 Home Corp., who has eight buildings, including four in Upper Manhattan, and a total of 1,187 violations, 753 of them considered hazardous, according to the list.

He's among seven landlords who have buildings in Upper Manhattan — three in Harlem and four in Washington Heights — who were listed among the 50 worst in the city.

A representative at 1071 Home Corp. said Neustein was unavailable for comment and declined to answer questions.

But Neustein's sister, Amy Neustein, an author who has clashed legally with her brother and spoken out against him in the past, said she's disheartened to continually see her sibling's name on the worst landlords list.

"It's horrible that people are living without heat and hot water. It's immoral and contrary to the way our parents raised us," she said. "I implore him to look at the new year as a time to change and care about the less fortunate."

Amy Neustein said a number of her brother's tenants have reached out to her for help.

"I'm disheartened to be in the position of being a sister speaking out against her brother, but if more sisters spoke out maybe we wouldn't have slumlords," she added.

De Blasio's watch list includes 317 landlords citywide with a minimum of two hazardous violations for alleged infractions such as mold, broken plumbing, lack of heat and hot water, lead paint or pest infestations. The updated watch list tracks whether repairs are being made and is featured on Craigslist.

"Our area has been struggling against landlord neglect for decades; most of the buildings here are more than 70 years old, and require consistent repairs", said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez.

"I want to make it clear to landlords who violate housing codes that my office will work to make sure that if they don't make the necessary repairs, they will face the maximum penalties from [the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development]."

De Blasio said the list is designed to force "landlords to improve the safety and living conditions for thousands of New Yorkers," he said in a statement.

The goal is to use the list to "increase pressure on landlords who refuse to address violations" and to  "provide residents an outlet to report landlords who fail to follow the law," he added.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement