Eight Point Housing Plan
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio launched an eight point housing plan to repair the most broken down apartment buildings in New York City. As part of the initiative, announced on April 4, the public advocate’s NYC’s Worst Landlords Watch List has been expanded to include borough-specific pages that list and filter the city Housing Preservation and Development Department (HPD) housing code violations by borough.
The Queens page counts 16 buildings, and the landlord responsible for the most housing code violations in the borough is listed with 166 infractions in just one building. The public advocate’s new initiatives will bar such chronically bad landlords from receiving taxpayer dollars and mobilize tenants in deteriorating buildings. The plan also includes an innovative partnership with private law firms to provide pro bono help in housing court, and will alert apartment hunters on Craigslist about landlords with a history of neglecting repairs.
Housing and landlord complaints are the number-one reason New Yorkers call 311.
More than 172,000 complaints about lack of heat alone flooded the system this winter and more than 800 housing code violations in Queens are currently listed on the watch list.
The eight-point plan includes:
•City legislation to bar landlords with a long history of severe housing violations from receiving taxpayer dollars through rent programs like Section 8 and Advantage.
•A partnership with the Department of Citywide Admin- istrative Services to prevent new city office space leases from being issued to landlords on the watch list.
•Listing NYC’s worst landlords watch list on Craigslist.org. as a resource for apartment hunters.
•Working with the New York City Housing Authority to reduce paperwork requirements and streamline the process for responsible landlords who have made repairs.
•An innovative pilot project with South Brooklyn Legal Services to recruit private sector law firms to help law-abiding tenants navigate housing court free of charge.
•The extension and expansion of rent regulations, which expire in June 2011.
•Sending field organizers into troubled buildings to help form new tenant associations.
•State legislation sponsored by state Senator Liz Krueger to establish mandatory minimum fines for the most severe category of housing violations, like failing to provide heat.
In August 2010, de Blasio launched the watch list to shine a spotlight on repeat offenders whose buildings have fallen into dangerous disrepair. The online lists currently display 418 buildings owned by 323 distinct landlords. As part of the initiatives announced this week, de Blasio’s list will be expanded so that tenants can easily network with others who live in different buildings but share the same landlord.
“We need to change New York’s approach to holding chronically bad landlords accountable,” de Blasio said. “We need to creatively use the tools we have right at our fingertips so that more New Yorkers can finally live in safe apartments.”
For the full list of Queens buildings cited on the NYC’s Worst Landlords Watch List, visit www.landlordwatchlist.com. The full eight point housing plan is available at www.advocate.nyc.gov/safehousing.