The program requires owners to rectify most violations within a four month period or be subject to penalties and possible costs of repairs initiated by HPD. On March 1, 2022, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced 250 buildings will be placed in the City’s Alternative Enforcement Program, which heightens enforcement against distressed buildings with many violations.
Every year, buildings that are in need of major repair are selected for the Alternative Enforcement Program. Violations that need to be repaired are divided into three categories: immediately hazardous (Class C), including mold, evidence of rodents, lack of heat, hot water or electricity, and lead-based paint; hazardous (Class B), including conditions like leaks or holes in plaster or sheetrock; and non-hazardous (Class A). Through the Alternative Enforcement Program, building owners have four months resolve most violations, including all heat and hot water violations, 80 percent of pest and hazardous mold violations, and 100 percent of all hazardous and immediately hazardous violations to be discharged from the program. Failure to rectify the violations within the four month period will make the building owner subject to significant fees. In addition, HPD may facilitate emergency repairs at the owner’s expense if the corrections are not made in a timely manner. The repair bills are transferred to the Department of Finance and a tax lien may be placed against the property. HPD can also petition the Housing Court to appoint a 7A Administrator to take control of the building to make the necessary repairs and collect rent.
The 250 buildings added this year to the Alternative Enforcement Program have nearly 40,000 open violations between them, including 9,442 immediately hazardous violations, 21,821 hazardous violations, and 8,327 non-hazardous violations. The 250 buildings are spread across most of the city, with 43 buildings in Manhattan (1,059 homes), 72 buildings in the Bronx (1,977 homes), 119 buildings in Brooklyn (1,837 homes), and 16 buildings in Queens (231 homes) being added to the program. To view the full list of properties added to the program, click here.
The HPD Housing Litigation Division is seeking repairs in housing court against 117 of the building owners, who own the City $3 million for emergency repair program charges, which accrue when HPD pays to correct Class C violations that the owner has failed to address in a reasonable time.
HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrión stated, “All New Yorkers deserve safe, well-maintained homes, and landlords across the city need to know that if they are unwilling to do what is right to provide that, we will take action. The Alternative Enforcement Program is an effective set of tools at our disposal to hold landlords accountable when they don’t do right by their tenants, and we are not afraid to use them if it means getting the city’s most troubled buildings into shape quickly.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)