By Ivan Pereira
The city public advocate is taking his fight against the city’s worst landlords, many of whom are in southeast Queens, to the World Wide Web in order to help tenants avoid the headaches of moving into poorly maintained apartments.
Bill de Blasio laid out a multipoint plan last week that he said would punish those building owners for not adhering to city guidelines and responding to tenants’ complaints, such as maintenance repairs and lack of heat and hot water.
De Blasio already has arranged for his office’s worst landlords online database to be posted on Craigslist as a link for renters to check when they search apartment listings.
“We need to creatively use the tools we have right at our fingertips so that more New Yorkers can finally live in safe apartments,” he said in a statement.
As of press time Tuesday, there were 15 landlords listed on the watch list, 10 of whom were located in southeast Queens. The borough building with the most building violations was at 88-22 Parsons Blvd. in Jamaica, which had 143 infractions that included citations for lack of heat and hot water, according to the database.
Aside from exposing the landlords online, de Blasio has other plans to curb the building offenses.
He proposed cutting off Section 8 and other taxpayer dollar-funded initiatives to building owners who have a long history of tenant neglect and prevent those landlords from buying more properties. De Blasio also pushed for field organizers to go into the troubled buildings and asked for help from new tenant associations so the apartment dwellers could organize better.
The public advocate indicated that he would support legislation introduced by state Sen. Liz Kruger (D-Manhattan) that would establish minimum penalties for several housing violations, including no heat.
“Negligent building owners do not make repairs because they know that New York City’s enforcement agencies do not have the tools nor the resources to make them comply with housing codes,” she said in a statement.
Log on to landlordwatchlist.com for a list of the landlords on the list.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.