The annual shaming of crappy landlords continued yesterday, with the release of Public Advocate Letitia James’ top 100 worst landlord list, a database of the city’s most reprehensible building owners.
While hair colorists from the Midwest ride Citibikes with brokers in search of $800,000 apartments, tenants in these buildings must contend with rat and roach infestations, leaky roofs and broken radiators with winter fast approaching.
This year, the top spot went to Harry Silverstein, who moved up the rankings from number two last year (and number six the year before). Silverstein owns eight buildings in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens and has racked up an embarrassing 2,082 housing and building code violations.
At one building, 39-30 59th Street in Woodside, there are 365 open violations (as opposed to complaints) open with the Department of Buildings and the city Housing and Preservation and Development division. A resident at the building told the Daily News that the building has “vermin… peeling plaster, broken stoves, [and] missing smoke detectors.”
A mother living in a Bronx apartment building owned by Ved Parkash, who dropped four spots to number five on the list, said her daughter developed asthma from the poor living conditions. “My building is filled with rats and cockroaches, and the elevator is always dirty,” said Yoselyn Gomez, who lives at 750 Grand Concourse. This year, the Human Resources Administration threatened to withhold rent payments for tenants on public assistance in Parkash buildings and others, if they didn’t address violations, as reported by Gothamist.
At the worst building in the Bronx, 70-year old Clara Wainwright’s landlord locked her out of her bathroom after she reported leaks. She now walks through a vacant, decrepit apartment one floor below to use the bathroom.
Her kitchen ceiling, which is falling apart, is covered in a tarp and holes litter the hallway ceiling. Her building, 919 Prospect Avenue, is owned by Seth Miller, number 38 on the list.
This is the first year violations from the DOB and HPD have been included in the database, as well as data from the Department of Finance on buildings with unpaid debts sold through the city’s tax lien sale (a sign that a building is in financial distress). The annual list was started by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2010 when he served as Public Advocate. James took the list a step further this year — she or someone from her staff visited at least one building owned by each of the 100 landlords, and met with tenants to see firsthand the consequences of their landlords inaction.
Allan Goldman came in at number two, with 25 buildings and 1,208 violations. Rounding out the top three was Efstathios Valiotis, with eight buildings and 1,141 violations. The database also includes the worst individual buildings in each borough.
View the 2016 worst landlords database here.