By Sarina Trangle
The city public advocate’s annual worst landlord list included several buildings clustered in northwest Queens, with few residences east of the Van Wyck Expressway excluding the Rockaways getting included.
Public Advocate Letitia James released her findings last week, noting she assessed landlords based mainly on city Department of Housing Preservation and Development data. James said buildings with under 35 units needed an average of at least three open, serious violations per unit to be included on the list while larger buildings only required two.
“For those landlords who would put income before the health and safety of tenants, my office will continue to monitor and bring forth legal action when necessary,” James said in a statement.
Queens’ worst offender was 14-15 Mott Ave. in Far Rockaway, which had 445 violations according to James’ list, followed by 29-32 Beach Channel Drive in Neponsit, with 346 infractions.
Neither landlord could be reached for comment.
A Sunnyside building that was traditionally rent-stabilized, but then offered tenants the opportunity to purchase their homes and form a co-op in 1989 came in third. The 43-15 46th St. residence, which is part of a larger complex with its neighbor 43-33 46th St., had 271 violations, according to the public advocate’s research. Complaints filed with HPD in the last year include requests to repair water leaks, replaster and paint surfaces, abate mold and mildew and replace missing smoke detectors.
Few at the Sunnyside residence openly discussed concerns. But a couple of renters who feared not having their leases renewed if they gave their names said water pipe bursts and leaks frequently spewed water through the walls and ceilings.
“You call and they come plaster over it, but that’s not a fix. It’s cosmetic,” said one renter who has had a leak repaired multiple times. “I have a newborn. I worry about lead paint in the walls, mold in the bathroom.”
Co-op owners, however, said they encountered few issues. A few noted that renters did not always realize they were subletting and must approach the board for repair work.
Longtime residents such as Paul Maringelli said the original landlord, who still owns some rental units, had a bad track record.
Efforts to locate Kevin Kane, the landlord’s head officer, were unsuccessful.
James’ assessment of Queens listed 28-02 44 St. in Astoria as fourth, with 245 violations that appear to be mostly related to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, electrical wiring and pests, and 39-30 59th St. in Woodside as fifth, with 221 infractions spanning everything from roach infestations to loose ceramic tiles.
Neither buildings’ landlord could be reached for comment.
For the full list, go to landlordwatchlist.com.
Reach reporter Sarina Trangle at 718-260-4546 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.