NYC Public Advocate Reveals List of City’s 100 Worst Landlords

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New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has released the annual, and controversial, list of the city’s 100 worst landlords, with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) getting a special mention for its $45 billion repairs backlog.

The “Worst Landlord Watchlist” is based on the number of unresolved housing violations issued by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

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This year, the list includes 476 buildings, with 8,513 units total, concentrated in upper Manhattan, the Bronx, and in Central Brooklyn neighborhoods like Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Bushwick. 

HPD violations include immediate “class C” concerns like lack of heat or hot water and rodent infestations, as well as less hazardous “class B” issues regarding lighting, paint, signage and fire safety. The buildings on the list averaged 2.5 “C level” violations and 6.4 “B level” violations, respectively.

The designation of the No. 1 “Worst Landlord” went to Jason Korn for the second year in a row, with an average of 1,822 open violations across 10 buildings out of the 55 he owns. In 2019, Korn averaged 2,877 open violations over the course of the year. 

Korn is currently in negotiations with tenants over repairs at 1616 President Street in Crown Heights, where tenants went on strike because of the conditions at the building, including lack of hot water, mold and crumbling ceilings, Curbed reported. Korn, at first, threatened to evict the tenants, but eventually began negotiations with the tenants association through his attorneys in October. 

NYCHA was also designated one of NYC’s worst landlords, with 326 developments on the watchlist. But NYCHA was not technically ranked, because its buildings are not issued violations by HPD. The agency is in a critical state, with a backlog of open work orders that has nearly doubled since 2018, and would cost a total of $45 billion to complete. The agency had 461,830 open work orders in October of this year, compared with 236,360 in October 2018.

Williams singled out Mayor Bill de Blasio in his remarks about the list. “The de Blasio administration itself is among the worst landlords this year, in part, because they have failed to hold bad actors accountable again and again,” he said.

In 2016, Hakim Kamran, one of the landlords on the list sued then-Public Advocate Letitia James for his inclusion on the list, and attempted to prevent its publication. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2018, when a judge ruled that the list was not libelous.