Jumaane Williams’ accounts increase fines for violations and increase law enforcement


Public Attorney Jumaane Williams (Getty; iStock)

Public Attorney Jumaane Williams (Getty; iStock)

Two bills from the city ‘s public attorney would significantly increase bets on homeowners violating housing rules:.

Legislation introduced by Jumaane Williams, a public defender, last week and was in the works from at least January, this would increase fines for low-maintenance property owners in their buildings and impose these landlords on a new “watch list”. .

The first bill requires the Department for Housing Protection and Development (HPD) to maintain a checklist that identifies landlords of “bad actors” and prevents them from redressing breaches in multiple uncontrolled buildings. The HPD would set out the criteria to be included in the list of monitored property owners, including the number and seriousness of the breaches, and the Agency would be responsible for publishing the list at the beginning of each year.

The new list would be separated from the “Worst Landlord List” maintained by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, as well as the existing list of alternative HPD enforcement for apartment buildings with many housing violations – but the second-listed landlord could be on the new HPD list.

Landlords who appear on the new list would not be able to resolve their breach without an HPD inspection, which must be carried out within two weeks of the date for rectification of the breach.

Failure to address these violations would result in severe penalties. Instead of the current $ 250 to $ 500 a day for uncorrected violations, homeowners can expect fines of $ 750 to $ 1,500. For the next two years, failure to resolve subsequent violations in the same building would result in a fine of $ 1,500 to $ 3,000 per day, instead of the current fine of $ 500 to $ 1,000.

The legislation would also increase fines for property owners who falsely confirm that infringements have been remedied. Currently, this means a maximum fine of $ 250; if the account passes, it could reach up to $ 2,500, with fines increasing according to the severity of the violation.

Williams did not stop there: His second account would lead HPD to speed up the response time to complaints. The timeline for reacting to an imminently dangerous situation – such as no heat during the heating season, no hot water in any season or broken toilets – would be five hours. For a dangerous condition, such as an attack on a bed bug, a missing smoke detector or a broken front door, it would be two days. An HPD spokesman said the agency was already at work.

“HPD inspectors work every day to solve maintenance problems, ensure tenants are safe in their homes, and ensure accountability to landlords,” said a department spokesman. “We share the commitment of the Council and the Public Advocate to these goals and look forward to discussing the best and most effective ways to achieve them.”

Williams did not respond to several requests for comments.

Many property owners have never heard of them when asked about new bills, while a dozen property owners declined to comment. Few people were surprised that a public official would try to enforce tenants’ rights and penalize landlords.

“I understand that property owners are not everyone’s first concern, but they are on the ground and bleeding,” said Michael Feldman, CEO of Choice New York Companies, which manages thousands of housing units in the New York area.

Adherence to all rules would make it impossible for the building to operate, Feldman said.

“It’s a war on compliance,” Feldman said. “It is not fiscally possible for anyone who bought a building and has a debt to fully comply with this litany of new laws and to operate a purely clean building.”

Jay Martin, executive director of the Community Housing Improvement Program, called Williams’ bill of exchange “absurd.”

“The complaints system has been damaged by lawyers to become a way of harassing tenants against property owners,” Martin said. “Now that you’re using the same system to make $ 1,100 a day, who’s going to determine if it’s fixed?”

In addition to the problem of ensuring the validity of the complaint, Matin asked who was to blame for the poor conditions in the building: the tenants who contributed to its deterioration through use or abuse, or the landlord who owned it and was responsible for its long-term maintenance.

“Negligence on the part of the property owner should be cured as soon as possible, but more often than not.” [conditions] are caused by problems related to the tenant, “said Martin. “At some point, we need to understand that there are problems in 100-year-old buildings.”

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