City Announces Lawsuits Against Two Landlords and One Settlement for Building Code Violations, Dangerous Conditions

Mayor Eric Adams. Photo Credit:

On January 6, 2023, Mayor Eric Adams and Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds-Radix announced the filing of two lawsuits against Alma Realty Corp. and Empire Management America Corp. for the failure to fix thousands of code violations which created dangerous living conditions for tenants. Additionally, the city announced a settlement with Sentinel Real Estate Corporation to establish a timeline for repairs.

Combined, the three landlords have approximately 2,100 violations. The buildings are located in upper Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. Some of the poor and dangerous conditions in the 13 buildings owned by Alma covered in the lawsuit include defective wiring, missing fire doors, lead paint, rodents, and deteriorating facades. Alma has previously been sued by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development twice. 

Eight buildings owned by Empire had over 300 uncorrected violations, including deteriorating facades, non-code-compliant sprinklers, illegal gas connections, and defective elevators. 

Sentinel’s buildings had over 1,000 violations, including unsafe facades, illegal gas installations, unsafe wiring, unpermitted electrical work, rodents, and lead paint. Sentinel agreed to immediately make repairs and already corrected 200 violations. The settlement lays out a timeline for the remaining corrections across six buildings. If Sentinel does not comply, the city can file a complaint and seek a court order. 

Since 2019, the Law Department has filed 25 suits against landlords and obtained court orders in 18 cases, resulting in the correction of thousands of violations. 

Mayor Adams stated, “All New Yorkers deserve to live in safe, clean homes, which is why we will not tolerate landlords who repeatedly flout the law and put the health and wellbeing of tenants at risk. Alma Realty, Empire Management America, and Sentinel Real Estate allowed thousands of code violations to go unchecked for years, endangering the well-being of thousands of residents. These lawsuits and agreement underscore our administration’s commitment to more aggressive enforcement actions against bad actors and deterring this sort of negligence in the future.”

Corporate Counsel Hinds-Radix stated, “The city has zero tolerance for landlords who break the law and put tenants and the public at risk. These new suits demonstrate our commitment to holding violators accountable and to ensuring landlords keep their buildings up to code. The Law Department has brought many lawsuits that have protected thousands of tenants, and we will continue these efforts on behalf of New Yorkers. They deserve nothing less.”

A spokesperson from Sentinel reached out to CityLand and stated, “Sentinel is committed to the health, safety, and welfare of all its residents and to ensuring that all our properties are Code-compliant. In partnership with our management company, we have dedicated significant resources to resolving the issues identified at some of our buildings and to date have made a comprehensive effort toward addressing all of these items.”

By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.