Last week New York City’s Public Advocate, Letitia James, released the annual NYC Landlord Watchlist (established by Bill de Blasio back in 2010), which includes a long list of landlords who have accrued a significant amount of violations from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD). And lucky for us, we’ve got plenty of slumlords to call our own.
In order to receive the distinguished award, a landlord with less than 35 units per building must have an average of at least three open, serious violations per unit. For larger buildings the average number of violations per unit must be greater than two. A “serious violation” (HPD dubs these class B and class C violations) can range from security concerns such as non-self-closing doors in common areas or inadequate lighting, to the presence of some potentially very serious hazards including rats, lead paint, and lack of heat or hot water.
We decided to give the list a thorough scanning to see which buildings fall in our hoods. Here’s to hoping none of the addresses are yours. See the map above. Red markers indicate 220 or more violations; orange, 200-219; yellow, 180-199; green, 140-179.
The watchlist highlights the fact that landlords can accumulate a number of serious violations and still manage to stay in business. In the case of 53 Troutman Street, head officer Joel Klein has received 257 violations, 180 of which are class B and C violations. According to HPD data, in the past year there have been reports of rodents, a defective lock on the front door, and several leaks into tenants’ apartments from the roof.
Despite the dizzying number of landlords in serious breach of HPD codes (the Public Advocate’s website maps out buildings with fewer than 140 violations), it appears the NYC watchlist has inspired some immediate change. According to Letitia James’ Twitter, at least one landlord reacted to the list by addressing violations.
— Letitia James (@TishJames) October 9, 2014
But other landlords were more evasive. B+B called close to a dozen of the landlords listed in our neighborhoods. Our phone calls weren’t returned in most cases, and the few cases we did reach someone, we were refused comment.