City's worst landlords called out by Public Advocate Letitia James

Public Advocate Letitia James marked the release of the 2017 Worst Landlord Watchlist with a rally in lower Manhattan on Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Public Advocate Letitia James on Tuesday released a list of the 100 worst landlords, describing them as “bad actors” who have subjected their tenants to “unsafe and unsanitary conditions.”

Vermin infestations, moldy walls and crumbling ceilings were among conditions city inspectors found in the past year at apartment buildings the landlords own.

“No one should have to live like this,” James said at a rally with tenants’ rights advocates in lower Manhattan.


James said the annual list — started in 2010 by her predecessor, Bill de Blasio, before he was elected mayor — has been effective in getting some landlords to address the hundreds of building and housing code violations that landed them on the list. She noted that six landlords from last year’s top 10 list had resolved their violations and were no longer on the list.

“Shame works,” James said at the Foley Square rally.

Jonathan Cohen of Silvershore Properties is ranked at the top of this year’s list after receiving 1,090 violations from the Housing and Preservation Department. He had 15 violations from the Department of Buildings across 188 apartment units in 19 buildings, according to figures provided by James’ office.

The violations occurred between October 2016 and October 2017.

In a statement, Silvershore Properties said: “We have done a tremendous amount of work in these properties and expect the number of violations to be reduced significantly once the HPD [Housing and Preservation Department] dismissal inspections are scheduled this month.”

Silvershore faces lawsuits in Brooklyn Housing Court filed in June by rent-stabilized tenants from Greenpoint and Sunset Park.

They say Silvershore cut off access to heat, hot water and gas, and ignored their complaints about vermin and mounting trash, in an attempt to force longtime tenants into accepting buyout offers as the company sought to sell the properties. Silvershore has denied the allegations.


Rolando Guzman, one of the tenants suing Silvershore, issued a warning to “bad landlords.”

“Be aware — we are organizing and we are going after you,” Guzman said at the rally. “Tenants are saying ‘enough is enough.’ ”

The public advocate’s complete list is available online at