In releasing his office’s “Worst Landlords List” on Monday, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams exposed five of New York’s most neglectful landlords while also lambasting city government for failing to maintain and fix New York City Housing Authority properties.
Williams released a watchlist of the top 100 most egregiously negligent landlords, as determined by widespread and repeated violations of building codes. The list included major violations such as peeling lead paint, rats, roaches and other vermin, dangerous black mold and water leaking into apartments.
Surrounded by tenant advocates at the Dec. 16 announcement in Manhattan, Williams was also joined by State Attorney General Letitia James, Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez and state Senator Brian P. Kavanagh. All castigated the NYCHA for not keeping up with work orders and taking long to make repairs.
NYCHA had nearly 350,000 outstanding work orders — more than 100,000 more than last year’s total — following the installation of a federal monitor and a new chairman, Williams reported.
Of the private landlords, the number one violator was Jason Korn, who had 2,877 open Housing Preservation and Development violations, Williams said. The other four top offenders include: Nathan Montgomery with 1,581 open violations; Eric Silverstein, with 1,144 violations; Abdul Khan, with 1,135 violations; and Chris Deangelis, with 978 open violations. Each of them own multiple buildings are in all five boroughs, Williams said.
Kim Statuto is a tenant leader at 1515 Selwyn Ave. in the Bronx, where landlord Abdul Khan is alleged to have neglected her building. She said they have not had gas service in 14 months because the landlords made a oil conversion without proper permits.
Statuto said Section 8 housing is threatening to terminate their contract with the landlord, thus endangering the tenants they are supposed to protect.
“We demand that HPD sues the landlord in housing court and to get warrants to remediate all hazardous conditions in the building,” she said. “We demand the city takes 1515 Selwyn Ave. away from Abdul Khan and helps put the building in to non-profit ownership.”
Attorney General Letitia James, the city’s former public advocate, warned landlords that if they fail to correct violations and continue to build up violations, she would take actions against them.
“They need to know, there is a new sheriff in town,” James said. “We will not go silently into the night, we know the power of this list and the shame they will face.”
Williams observed that Korn was the “worst landlord” and having nearly 3,000 violations is something anyone should be ashamed of.
“He was number 9 last year, and now he is number 1,” Williams said. “[But] there is one landlord that gets special ringing at the top, and that is NYCHA, and the city shouldn’t get away with having 290,000 work orders, over 100,000 from last year.”
Across 326 developments, Williams said, NYCHA had 342,840 open work orders as of November 2019 — many with unsafe or unsanitary conditions effecting more than half a million residents. He said he will continue to press the city to improve their response times — some serious problems are found on a Friday, but not remedied till Monday.