Tuesday, December 15, 2020

NYCHA again named one of NYC’s ‘worst landlords’

NYCHA again named one of NYC’s ‘worst landlords’

For the third year in a row, the New York City Housing Authority has the dubious distinction of being named one of the Big Apple’s worst landlords.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams — whose office prepares the annual Worst Landlords Watchlist — ripped into Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration’s for mismanagement and awful conditions at NYCHA’s apartment complexes serving more than 400,000 working class and low-income city residents. as well as for failing to aggressively take action against unscrupulous and uncaring landlords of private apartment complexes.

Williams said the coronavirus pandemic makes the substandard housing conditions even more dangerous now because tenants are more confined to their homes.

“The de Blasio administration itself is among the worst landlords this year in part because they have failed to hold bad actors accountable again and again throughout this tenure,” Williams said.

As de Blasio begins his final year in office, the number of NYCHA work orders has skyrocketed and the safety standard at many of its buildings have deteriorated, the report said.

Williams also cited “devastating” levels of toxic lead exposures for children living in NYCHA apartments across the city.

“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,” Wiliams said.

“Together with tenants and advocates across the city, we will continue to hold the mayor and everyone on this list accountable through legislation and organization.”

Last week, the city Department of Investigation issued a withering report saying NYCHA failed to properly supervise thousands of lead fixes in public housing apartments — and to properly protect tenants from the toxic substance as they performed the repairs.

Mismanagement and fraud at the public housing agency resulted in a partial federal takeover in 2019.

The worst landlords list is based on building violations filed with the city Department of Housing Preservation Development.

The top 5 worst individual landlords in New York City in 2020 include Jason Korn, whose 10 buildings have 1,822 open HPD violations. Korn also topped the private landlord list last year.

The Marcy Houses in Brooklyn
The Marcy Houses in Brooklyn
Gregory P. Mango

Williams slammed Korn as attempting to evict a group of tenants from a Crown Heights building at 1616 President St. who organized a rent strike over deplorable conditions,

Those conditions included broken intercom system and defective locks, rodent infestation, mold and peeling lead paint, according to tenant complaints and HPD violations recently featured in Curbed.com.

Number two on the list is Lewis Barbanel/Barberry Rose properties — many located in Washington Heights and Inwood in Manhattan — which racked up 1,383 open HPD violations.

Rounding out the top five “worst” landlords on Williams’ list are Robert Raphael, whose properties amassed 1,229 open violations; Abdul Khan with 1,195 violations and David Blau, with 952 violations.

“In a moment when New Yorkers are largely confined to their homes, facing a deadly pandemic and an economic crisis, the worst landlords in New York City continue to take advantage of New Yorkers in need, neglecting emergency repairs and allowing dangerous conditions to go unchecked while continuing to cash rent checks,” Williams said.

“Again, we see the COVID-19 pandemic revealing existing inequities, as the worst landlords operate in some of the worst-hit neighborhoods in our city and target lower income communities of more color,” he added.

Williams also blamed team de Blasio for failing to crack down on private landlords for dangerous housing conditions.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, tenant complaints and violations filed with HPD dropped significantly. James surmised tenants may have been reluctant to file complaints during the pandemic to avoid being exposed to more people.

But the report also said more violations including lack of heat or hot water, mold, or infestation reported to HPD went unaddressed during the pandemic.

Open work orders skyrocketed from 236,360 in October of 2018 to 461,830 in October of 2020, the report said.

None of the landlords named in the top five immediately responded to The Post’s requests for comment. 

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