De Blasio administration lands on worst landlord watchlist

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams calls out mismanagement of NYCHA

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty)
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Getty)

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has landed at the top of the Public Advocate’s list of the city’s worst landlords — which the mayor himself started 10 years ago.

In the report, made public Dec. 15, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams lambasted the de Blasio administration’s management of the New York City Housing Authority, which made it to the top of the list for the third year in a row.

Chief among Williams’ concerns is the level of lead exposure for children living in NYCHA buildings, which are home to nearly a million New Yorkers, although official rent rolls are much lower. The number of work orders for the agency — which does not receive violations from Housing Preservation and Development, as private landlords do — has also skyrocketed.

“As [de Blasio] heads into his eighth and final year in office, the issues we have today are no longer about any actions taken by the prior administration, but the utter failures of the current one and the need to take ownership of those failures,” Williams said in a statement.

A City Hall spokesperson told the New York Post that de Blasio has “invested more to improve conditions at NYCHA than any other mayor in our city’s history.”

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The list calls out landlords who have racked up the most HPD violations in a given year. When de Blasio launched it in 2010, just a few months into his term as Public Advocate, it drew widespread attention, which he welcomed.

“We want these landlords to feel like they’re being watched,” de Blasio told the New York Daily News. “We need to shine a light on these folks to shame them into action.”

But property owners have criticized its methodology, which does not account for larger portfolios having more violations by virtue of having more units, calling the data “outdated and inaccurate.”

Private landlords who are included on the Public Advocate’s list may soon find themselves on another watchlist that could bring more than just bad publicity. Williams introduced legislation in October that would raise the penalties for property owners with maintenance deficiencies in their buildings and put those landlords on a separate list, also maintained by the Public Advocate’s office.