Worst landlord in New York City owns borough’s worst buildings in Woodside and Jamaica

Photo courtesy of PropertyShark/Scott Bintner

Harry D. Silverstein is the worst landlord in New York City, according to Public Advocate Leticia James.

James released the Worst Landlord Watchlist on Oct. 13, a list that highlights the 100 worst landlords in the city and includes data on Department of Buildings (DOB) violations. Silverstein owns an apartment in Woodside at 39-30 59 St. and Jamaica at 87-40 165 St.

He made the public Advocate’s Landlord Watchlist last year and was named the second worst landlord in the city.

Silverstein owns a total of eight buildings across the city. The Woodside apartment has racked up five DOB violations and 360 Housing and Preservation Development (HPD) violations. It is also ranked 7th in the public advocate’s worst building list.

In terms of borough, the Woodside and Jamaica apartment buildings ranked first and second, respectively, on the top 20 worst buildings in Queens list.

Violations at 39-30 59 St. include elevator failure and failure to file an annual boiler inspection. In 2013, Silverstein’s employer — Woodside Silver Associates LLC — was slapped with a partial vacate order for converting the basement into an illegal apartment, adding partitions for a kitchen, living room, bathroom and a gas stove. DOB records show that people have been living in this apartment since at least August 2011.

Only multi-family rental buildings are eligible to be on the list. Co-ops, condominiums and rental buildings with fewer than 3 units are not included. Each multifamily residential building that is registered with HPD is assigned a score based on the number of HPD and DOB violations issued to that building and the number of units in the building.

The building in Jamaica has 17 DOB violations and 308 HPD violations. According to DOB records, the landlord has failed to maintain the building’s walls, which have visible cracks and displaced bricks around the fire escape. The boiler is also missing parts and an oil-line leak was observed in the boiler room earlier this year.

Silverstein could not be reached for comment as of press time.

“The Landlord Watchlist has become a critical tool for helping tenants organize against unscrupulous landlords, has assisted with the criminal convictions of some of New York’s worst landlords, and has led to better living conditions for countless New Yorkers,” James said.

Seven of the landlords on this year’s list are no longer in the top ten and three landlords are no longer on the list.

Other buildings on the list are located in Ridgewood, Rego Park, Elmhurst, Astoria and Far Rockaway.

A spokesperson for James said the best thing for tenants to do is join or create a tenants association. Tenants can hold the landlord accountable more effectively as a group, she said.

The first step to take if a landlord is not addressing issues is to call 311 or HPD. Tenants can also reach out to James at 212-669-7250 or gethelp@pubadvocate.nyc.gov.

For a list of tenant rights, visit this website.

To check out the full list of worst landlords and worst apartment buildings, visit James’ website.

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