The Real Deal New York

City hasn’t collected more than $34M in landlord fines: report

Comptroller says mayor is giving free pass to landlords

November 18, 2016 08:43AM

Scott Stringer

Scott Stringer

Though a city housing agency fined landlords $35.1 million in the past two years, it’s collected less than $1 million of what the agency is owed, according to a recent report.

The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has only collected 2.46 percent — just under $900,000 — of the $35.1 million it fined landlords in fiscal years 2014 and 2015, the New York Post reported. The findings were published in an audit by city Comptroller Scott Stringer. The collection totals were as of October 29, 2015.

“Even though we know these tenants – many who need us most – are often living in unfathomable conditions, we aren’t holding landlords accountable. It’s unfair and it’s unacceptable,” Stringer said in a statement.

Stringer, who is reportedly mulling a run against Mayor Bill de Blasio next year, accused the mayor’s administration of “giving landlords a free pass to break the law.”

The comptroller’s report also found that HPD‘s enforcement unit has a massive backlog of cases — nearly half of the 2,100 open cases hadn’t been assigned to an attorney as of March. The report recommended hiring more attorneys. HPD agreed but disputed the comptroller’s math, asserting that its collection rate was actually 13 percent.

“This ‘gotcha’ game is dishonest and distracts from the important business of serving our city’s most vulnerable residents,” the agency said in a statement. [NYP]Kathryn Brenzel

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