Housing Authority backs Ridgewood lawmaker’s call to stop unscrupulous tactics of landlords

Rally web
QNS/Photo by Anthony Giudice

In a continuing effort to keep Section 8 residents in their apartments throughout neighborhoods seeing an increase in gentrification, like Ridgewood, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) has come out in favor of holding landlords responsible for unscrupulous tactics to force tenants out.

In March, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez wrote a letter to Silvershore Properties, the owners and landlords of 1708 Summerfield St. — where residents held a rally earlier in the year claiming the landlords let their apartments fall into disrepair so they would lose their rent-regulated apartments.

In the letter, Velazquez laid out the complaints by the residents and requested Silvershore Properties provide a written response and documentation that they addressed the problems.

NYCHA has inspected the apartments at 1708 Summerfield St. and found that six units are under suspension due to Housing Quality Standards (HQS) violations.

“NYCHA notified the landlord and tenants of the failed inspection results for the suspended units and HQS violations that were identified during the inspection process,” said Beverly Burgess of NYCHA’s Leased Housing Department, in a letter dated June 20. “The residents residing in the suspended units have been advised that they may obtain a Section 8 transfer if the landlord does not make the required repairs within the specified time frame.”

“The response from the New York City Housing Authority only further underscores that tenants’ rights are being abused by Silvershore Properties,” Velazquez said in a statement. “It is important NYCHA notes that these tenants can obtain a Section 8 transfer if Silvershore continues failing to make repairs. In any event, we must continue working with HUD, the State Attorney General and local regulators to protect these tenants and keep them in their homes.”

Last month Velazquez introduced the Landlord Accountability Act, a piece of legislation which aims to protect tenants, especially those in the Section 8 program, from unscrupulous behaviors by landlords.

The Landlord Accountability Act would make it illegal for landlords to intentionally allow Section 8 units to fall into a state of disrepair by establishing civil monetary penalties if landlords take actions, or neglect to take action, with the intention of disqualifying their units for federal housing programs like Section 8.

The bill would also establish a new Multifamily Housing Complaint Resolution Program to receive complaints, investigate and attempt to resolve disputes through mediation, as well as expand the availability of affordable housing by ending discriminating against tenants with a Section 8 voucher.