For the second year in a row, the New York City Housing Authority has made the annual list of worst landlords, earning a category unto itself with hundreds of thousands of needed repairs estimated as costing $45 billion.
The report by the city's public advocate, Jumaane Williams, cited a steady rise in the number of open work orders submitted by public housing tenants. As of November there were nearly 343,000 open work orders, an increase of 35 percent since January when there was roughly 255,000 open work orders.
"The landlords on this list have failed to live up to their most basic obligations," Williams told the Daily News. "Through legislation and organization, through political power and tenant power, we’re going to take them on.”
The naming of NYCHA on the infamous ranking comes amid heightening scrutiny and legal pressure on the agency amid chronic heat and hot water outages and lack of repairs. Last week, separate groups of tenants filed three lawsuits, two in New York City housing court and another in federal court, to hold the authority accountable.
In response to its placement on the worst landlords list, a spokesperson for NYCHA issued the following statement:
“With 2,351 buildings in 316 developments and more than 400,000 residents in public housing, NYCHA holds the largest real estate portfolio in the country. Since signing the January 2019 Agreement, we have been closely collaborating with the Federal Monitor to bring the Authority into compliance, and laying the groundwork and implementing systemic changes to improve conditions for our residents. This includes identifying plans to raise sufficient capital to stabilize all of [our] properties and preserve all of our apartments for the long term.”
Among private landlords, Jason Korn, a landlord associated with 15 buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn with 703 total units, topped the list. His properties racked up a monthly average of 2,877 outstanding city violations in 2019, the most of any landlord, according to data from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Korn could not be reached for comment.
Like last year, the second landlord on the list was an official from the nonprofit Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corp. (NBHDC), which own 22 buildings with 220 units. In 2019, the nonprofit had an average of 1,518 unresolved housing violations.
In August, a group of Brooklyn tenants asked a federal bankruptcy court to appoint a trustee to take control of 12 apartment buildings that they said were plagued by unsanitary and dangerous living conditions including leaks, lead paint, mold, heat and hot water outages, and rodent and bug infestations.
The nonprofit, which was once credited with building hundreds of low- and moderate-income housing units in Brooklyn and spurring community-based initiatives, has taken a notorious turn within the world of affordable housing developers. In 2016, it partnered with a for profit-developer, Arker Companies, in the $19 million purchase of a former hospital site in the Rockaways that is slated for affordable housing. NBHDC was supposed to have been a social service provider, but following the August story about the Brooklyn tenants, Arker Companies announced that the nonprofit would no longer have any involvement in the project.
Asked to provide a comment about the worst landlord list, an individual at NBHDC who answered the phone immediately hung up.