What happened to the city’s yearly slumlords list?
Each November, the city’s Housing Preservation and Development Agency publishes a list of the 200 Worst Properties in New York, the properties with the highest numbers of housing code violations per apartment.
We’re almost halfway into December, and so far the city hasn’t published its list for 2010. What happened?
When the city puts out its list, those buildings go into a special program that the city considers its toughest targeting of the city’s worst slumlords (We’ve noted that it could be tougher.)
HPD spokesman Eric Bederman tells us that the agency got an extension from the City Council until next month. The agency, Bederman says, is updating the formula for determining who is a slumlord (technically, which buildings qualify). But the City Council still has to approve the new criteria, which sets stricter guidelines for mold and will ultimately lead to bigger buildings being put on the list (The current formula makes it so that the list is dominated by smaller buildings, mostly in Brooklyn and in the Bronx).
But the new criteria, like the program itself, does not get to the heart of the slumlord problem. While strides have been made in targeting some of the city’s worst buildings, landlords languish on the list for years. A recent audit has pointed out that whatever pressures the program puts on landlords isn’t enough to get them to clean up their act.
Even if the city did a perfect job cleaning up these targeted buildings, it wouldn’t scratch the surface of the overall slumlord problem: the list only targets less than one percent of all occupied apartments in the city. Together, those apartments are currently racking up more than 335,000 open emergency housing code violations.