HPD picked 250 buildings with over 41,000 violations for enhanced enforcement. In 2019, the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) launched the Anti-Harassment Unit (AHU) to keep tenants safe and to hold owners and landlords accountable for leaving homes in disrepair. On March 4, 2020, HPD announced that the AHU filed actions for nearly $400,000 against two building owners in court. Each building owner operates three buildings in Manhattan and the Bronx.
The first owner, Moshe Stahl, faces $300,000 in civil penalties for neglecting three Bronx buildings that have a total of 330 hazardous violations:
– 31 Mt. Hope Place: 179 violations and over 75 falsified repairs
– 2028 Valentine Avenue: 187 violations and 28 falsified repairs
– 214 E. 168 Street: 137 violations and 35 falsified repairs
The second owner, Joseph Soleimani, faces $90,000 in civil penalties for neglecting three Manhattan buildings that have a total of 320 hazardous violations:
– 506 W 173rd Street: 94 violations
– 524 W 173rd Street: 162 violations
– 526 W 173rd Street: 114 violations
Since the launch of the Anti-Harassment Unit, the Unit has processed over 950 building-wide inspections and 40 cases for legal action.
HPD also announced that 250 buildings are under HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP). AEP is an enforcement program for apartment buildings that have multiple housing code violations. Violations include mold, evidence of rodents, lead-based paint and lack of heat, hot water or electricity, leaks or holes in plaster, or chipping or peeling paint. The program aims to improve conditions by frequently inspecting and monitoring the correction of such violations. The program also authorizes HPD to make repairs if necessary. This year, AEP has cited 250 buildings, over 5,000 homes, and a combined total of 41,142 housing code violations. At the time of this announcement, HPD’s Housing Litigation Division had active housing court cases against the owners of 146 of these 250 buildings. HPD sought to compel owners to correct all violations in 48 of these cases.
The following list breaks down the number of buildings and homes per borough in the AEP program:
Manhattan: 50 buildings/ 1,426 homes
Bronx: 52 buildings/ 1,166 homes
Brooklyn: 129 buildings/ 2,489 homes
Queens: 17 buildings/ 370 homes
To date, AEP has discharged 2,214 buildings and more than 30,000 units from the program.
HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll stated, “Every New Yorker has the right to live in a safe home without fear of being mistreated by a bad landlord. Our Anti-Harassment Unit has hit the ground running and will continue to amplify our enforcement team’s stellar work when it comes to keeping tenants safe and holding bad actors accountable. Our Alternative Enforcement Program is one of the toughest tools available to make real changes in troubled buildings.”
Council Speaker Corey Johnson stated, “we will not tolerate any form of landlord harassment or discrimination. The City Council has pushed many initiatives to protect tenants from bad landlords, including the creation of the citywide certificate of no harassment and the speculation watch list. New Yorkers should be able to live peacefully at home with basic services provided by their landlords, and not live in fear of the possibility of displacement. I am proud of all the work the City Council has done and is doing to penalize unscrupulous landlords and protect renters.”
By: Anna Kovalevska (Anna is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, class of 2020.)