The New York City Housing Authority is the city’s worst landlord, according to Public Advocate Letitia James who released the 2018 Worst Landlords Watchlist today.
“The buildings in NYCHA’s portfolio are among those in the worst condition in New York,” said James, which prompted her to include public housing for the first time in the annual list that aims to hold private landlords accountable.
The public advocate cited the years of neglect, dilapidated conditions coupled with the repeated failures to address lead paint concerns and provide heat as the reasons why NYCHA earned the top spot. James also added a detailed list of the 20 worst NYCHA buildings, 12 of which can be found in Brooklyn.
With four NYCHA developments, Crown Heights has the most buildings of any Brooklyn neighborhood on the list: Albany Houses I and II, Weeksville Gardens and Park Rock Rehab. Bed-Stuy’s Armstrong Houses II and Tapscott Street Rehab in Brownsville, as well as various developments in Coney Island, also join the ranks of the city’s worst public housing buildings.
“Now more than ever, there is a need for transparency, accountability and oversight,” said Councilmember Alicka Ampry-Samuel, who chairs the council’s Committee on Public Housing. “How do we, as a city, hold private landlords accountable when, as the largest landlord in the country, we have allowed residents to live in such squalor. I hope that by deeming NYCHA, the worst landlord in 2018, this will force NYC to look at itself in the mirror.”
Over 400,000 New Yorkers live in buildings owned by NYCHA, across 177,000 apartments. The conditions at the buildings were assessed with the number of complaints filed by tenants at each development during October 2018. At the end of the month, there were over 240,000 open work orders at NYCHA buildings, which marked a substantial increase from the 148,000 orders in 2017.
James also added an NYCHA’s Physical Needs Assessment report to the watchlist, which revealed that the housing authority will need more than $25 billion for repairs in the next year, or $148,000 per apartment.
As for the private landlords, the list is based on data collected over a 12 month period, October 2017 to September 2018, and analyzes factors such as HPD and DOB violations, as well as tax liens. For the first time, the list also includes data on the number of evictions at a given building since 2017.
Landlord Eric Silverstein currently tops the watchlist with four buildings on the list — three of which were in Flatbush and Prospect Lefferts Garden — and 1,449 HPD violations.
“The Worst Landlords Watchlist has been an invaluable tool to hold bad landlords accountable and improve living conditions for countless New Yorkers,” said James. “But for too long, the most glaring example of this ill-treatment has been at the hands of the city itself – and this year, we are finally putting NYCHA on notice. New Yorkers deserve better and it is long past time that NYCHA cleans up its act.”
To see the complete analysis, go here.