250 buildings have more than 25K hazardous violations: HPD

Agency has fined, taken landlords to court

90 Elizabeth Street Vicki Been
90 Elizabeth Street in Chinatown (inset: Vicki Been)

It must be name-and-shame season. Just a few months after Public Advocate Letitia James published her list of the city’s “worst” landlords, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been this week published her own list that identifies 250 multifamily buildings with a combined 25,000-plus hazardous violations.

These violations, which the city deems both “hazardous” and “immediately hazardous,” includes the presence of rats, inadequate fire exits, lead-based paints, and a lack of heat, hot water, electricity, or gas. Other more minor infractions include small leaks, chipping or peeling of paint.

The numbers of infractions increased by 500 from fiscal year 2015 to 2016.

The HPD’s ninth annual list, also known as the Alternative Enforcement Program, targets buildings that have more than 15 units and at least three open hazardous violations per unit issued within the past five years, as well as properties between three and 14 units with more than five violations per unit within the same time period.

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Among the buildings on the list are 90 Elizabeth Street, where tenants last summer sued landlord James Fong for failing to make repairs, the New York Observer reported.

If owners do not address violations, they are hit with hefty fines. The buildings on the list collectively owe the city more than $980,000 for the infractions and HPD has taken 224 owners of 138 buildings on the list to court, Been said in a press release.

Brooklyn had the most units with violations, with 1,373 units in 121 buildings, according to the list. The Bronx followed with 1,045 in 47 buildings, and Manhattan tallied 1,101 units in 67 buildings. Queens had 94 units in 11 buildings and Staten Island 91 units in four buildings.

Public Advocate Letitia James was criticized for erroneously including some landlords on her list. [NYO]Dusica Sue Malesevic