Monday, May 30, 2016

NYC To Begin Squeezing Landlords Of 12 Buildings ("Dirty Dozen") Out Of About $30K/Month In Tenants' Housing Subsidies Unless They Quickly Clear Up Over 2,000 Violations

In New York City, Gothamist reports;
  • In an attempt to put more pressure on some of New York's worst landlords, the city is trying something new: the Department of Social Services will withhold rent payments for eight notorious landlords' tenants who receive public assistance, unless the landlords quickly resolve 2,000-plus violations spread across 12 buildings in Manhattan, the Bronx, and Queens. More than 350 of those violations are classified as "immediately hazardous," such as inadequate fire exits, rodents, lead-based paint, and lack of heat, hot water, electricity, or gas.
    Those 12 buildings, which the city has dubbed the "Dirty Dozen," are home to over 1,800 tenants, 72 of whom are on public assistance.

    In order to legally withhold rent payments for those 72 tenants, the city is invoking the 1962 Spiegel Law, which allows its Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services to stop making payments if conditions in the building are "dangerous, hazardous, or detrimental to life and health." HRA/DSS has sent letters to the landlords informing them that if they don't request a re-inspection to show that they've corrected the violations within 15 days, the city can start withholding rent, which will amount to about $30,000/month.

    It's possible it won't get to that point: the city invoked the Spiegel Law in two test cases against landlords in the Bronx last year, and both landlords fixed the violations before any rent payments were withheld.