Jumaane Williams announces plan to crack down on landlords

Tougher fines will be imposed under proposed “Worst Landlord” bill

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Credit: Getty Images)
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams (Credit: Getty Images)

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has announced plans to introduce legislation to hold landlords more accountable.

In a “State of the Public” address at Brooklyn College Wednesday, Williams said the city needed to “increase penalties for failing to make or lying about the status of critical repairs, and bring transparency to ownership of properties.”

Williams said he planned to present the “Worst Landlord Accountability Act” to the City Council but offered no immediate timeline, according to the New York Post.

“A rent check should, at the very minimum, buy safety, security, and shelter,” Williams said. “In case after case, violation after unchecked violation, these landlords [have] demonstrated an inability or an unwillingness to live up to their end of the bargain.”

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He said the bill would put muscle behind the public advocate’s annual “worst landlord” list, which has been topped by the New York City Housing Authority for the past two years.

As a public body, NYCHA would not be hit with the same penalties as private landlords targeted by the bill, but Williams said the public advocate’s office would be “putting a specific spotlight on the most culpable, least responsive [NYCHA] developments in the city — demanding more funding, and better management of those funds.” [NYP] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan