City to hit landlords with stricter penalties

March 01, 2011 11:32AM

The City Council is set to approve legislation tomorrow that would give stricter penalties to landlords who violate city heat laws, the Wall Street Journal reported. The legislation was sponsored by Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to sign the bill into law, an aide confirmed. “For too long, bad landlords have profited by withholding heat from tenants every winter,” de Blasio said. “Passing the Heat Act will toughen penalties on those repeat offenders and make them think twice before leaving tenants in the cold.” Between Oct. 1 and Feb. 27, the city received 172,062 heat complaints and issued 9,042 violations, according to records from the Department of Housing Preservation & Development, an increase from the same period last year, when the city received 169,144 complaints and issued 8,642 violations. Currently, the law allows for a maximum fine of $500 per unit per day for a first violation and a maximum fine of $1,000 per unit per day for subsequent violations within the same calendar year. The new legislation wants to extend the period during which subsequent violations are subject to the higher fine to two years. “If you’re a good [landlord], you have nothing to worry about — the bill won’t affect you at all,” said Council member Erik Martin Dilan, chairman of the council’s Housing & Buildings Committee. “But if you’re looking to not live up to your responsibilities, the cost will go up.” [WSJ]