INWOOD – The city is taking swift action against eight slumlords, whose 12 buildings are riddled with hundreds of violations, officials said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Public Advocate Letitia James announced Thursday that the city was forcing eight landlords, with properties in Manhattan, Bronx and Queens, to either fix the hundreds of building code violations in their apartment buildings or the city will stop paying rent for the 72 tenants on public assistance.
The 12 apartment buildings, dubbed the “dirty dozen” by city officials, have a total of 2,075 building code violations, with 358 of those considered “immediately hazardous” based on inadequate fire exits, rodents, lead-based paint and lack of heat, hot water, electricity or gas.
“No one should have to live in an unsafe building, a dirty building,” said de Blasio, adding that the city was cutting off landlords’ revenue “to show that we mean business.”
Officials said the landlords have 15 days from receiving a letter from the Human Resources Administration or the Department of Social Services to respond to the city’s demands, which include a request for re-inspection and official confirmation by Housing Preservation & Development that the violations have been fixed.
The letter was sent on Tuesday, May 24, they said.
The buildings include three in Washington Heights and Inwood at 133 Ft. George Ave., 514 W. 211 St., 541 W. 150 St., and one building in Queens on 90-23 171 St. The remaining "dirty dozen" are in the Bronx at 20 W. 190 St., 212 W. Kingsbridge Rd., 2320 Creston Ave., 410 East 173 St., 2015 Creston Ave., 750 Grand Concourse, 751 Gerard Ave. and 315 E. 196th St..
The landlords are all on the Public Advocate’s "Worst Landlord Watchlist."
The Human Resources Administration or Department of Social Service is allowed to stop rent payments for public assistance tenants if building code violations were deemed “dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to life and health” under a 1962 law.
HRA head Steven Banks said withholding subsidy payments will benefit all tenants of a building, whether or not the landlord receives public subsidy for that tenant, as the landlord is forced to make building repairs.
The 12 buildings city is targeting have 2k violations, 1,800 tenants. 5 owned by city's worst landlord. Owners have 15 days to make repairs— Jeff Mays (@JeffCMays) May 26, 2016
“The No. 1 complaint to the office of Public Advocate on any given day is the crisis of affordable housing and substandard housing,” James said. “These landlords have been put on notice. It’s time to clean up their acts."