FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, February 6, 2017
CONTACT:  Juliet Pierre-Antoine, 212-863-5682

                                           

 

HPD ANNOUNCES 250 DISTRESSED PROPERTIES IN 2017 ALTERNATIVE ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM

 

In 10 years, AEP has targeted More than 2,000 buildings and forced the correction of dangerous code violations in 27,000 apartments

 

New York, NY – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer announces the 2017 Alternative Enforcement Program list, which profiles and allows for enhanced housing code violation enforcement tools on 250 multifamily residential buildings with egregious building code violations. Properties on this year’s 10th round list have a combined total of 26,034 hazardous and immediately hazardous code violations. The announcement of the list was made today with residents, elected officials, and community advocates at 3852-3854 10th Avenue in Manhattan, one of the newest additions to AEP. Since its inception, AEP has targeted severe disrepairs in 2,137 buildings and helped to significantly improve conditions in more than 26,710 homes across New York City.

“HPD's Alternative Enforcement Program works year in and year out to focus a spotlight – and the City's rigorous enforcement tools – on deteriorating buildings. We do not tolerate lawbreakers, we will compel landlords to correct violations, and protect the health and welfare of thousands of New York families,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

“All New Yorkers have a right to live in safe, quality housing. For ten years, the Alternative Enforcement Program has provided HPD a powerful tool to address the problems in distressed buildings comprehensively.  I want to thank the dedicated teams across the division of Enforcement and Neighborhood Services for working collaboratively with our many partners and elected officials to protect our city’s tenants,” said HPD Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer.

Public Advocate Letitia James said, "We must do everything in our power to protect and support tenants living in buildings with hazardous conditions. The Alternative Enforcement Program - created as a result of the Safe Housing Act I authored in the City Council - has proven to be a powerful tool in affecting positive change in some of the City's worst buildings. Coupled with other tools, such as our Worst Landlords List and legal action, we will keep fighting to ensure that every New Yorker has access to a safe and decent home."

“This City Council has always prioritized the Alternative Enforcement Program as it’s helped guarantee the safety and protection of thousands of residents across the boroughs,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “The program continues to demonstrate that holding landlords accountable is keeping our neighborhoods stronger and fairer.”

"In the decade since this program was first enacted, the AEP list has vastly improved living conditions for tenants in more than 26,000 New York City apartments," said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly's Housing Committee. "This is a great example of the State and City working together to ensure the health and safety of families."

“Through the Alternate Enforcement Program, residents of Inwood, long subjected to deplorable conditions at the hands of their landlord, will soon see the relief they need,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “The administration has been highly responsive to the concerns our office raised with this building, and this is the latest step in getting homes repaired and holding the landlord accountable. I am thankful not only to the city but to tenants’ rights advocates and the team at Legal Aid Society for stepping up in support of our residents because no one should be forced to live in such sub-standard conditions.”

“As housing prices continue to rise, our existing stock of affordable housing is more threatened than ever. AEP is a crucial program to help tenants stay in their homes, especially when their landlords have turned to tactics of disinvestment in an attempt to displace them. This option has made a huge difference in quality-of-life for thousands of families, and continues to be an important tool for stabilizing our neighborhoods and holding delinquent landlords accountable,” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

“This is the type of enforcement New York City tenants deserve,” said Councilmember Rafael Salamanca, Jr. “The Bronx has the most immediately hazardous violations per capita, and I personally have seen far too many tenants living in horrendous conditions. We need to take violators seriously and hold bad landlords accountable. HPD’s continued focus on enforcement of distressed properties should be commended.”

“Our homes are meant to be a safe, comfortable place to live and raise our families,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Landlords that ignore safety for the sake of expediency and profit need to be put on notice. This proactive action on behalf of the City means thousands of units can break free from a cycle of disrepair and neglect.”

"We live in the greatest city in the world, yet too many tenants live each and every day in deteriorating, hazardous housing," said Council Member Dan Garodnick. "This is unacceptable, but with AEP, the City is better equipped to serve these tenants in need. I was proud to sponsor the legislation expanding this program in 2014, and am pleased to see its continued success today."

"I would like to thank NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development for their prompt response in addressing the situation at 3854 10th Avenue and I applaud the efforts towards the Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP). These tenants have been victimized by an unscrupulous landlord who despite having more than 300 violations has been missing in action and has not acted in good faith to grant tenants piece of mind nor offered safe living conditions. The rodent infestations is one of many examples of the careless acts of this landlord who's only motive is to profit and not to provide a safe living environment to his tenants. My fellow colleagues and I will work with HPD closely to target and penalize those who do not abide to promote a sanitary living standard to tenants," said New York State Assembly Member Carmen De La Rosa.

New York State Senator Marisol Alcantara said, “I applaud the Alternative Enforcement Program's efforts to identify problem buildings and negligent landlords, and stand with all tenants across the city living in substandard conditions. Our city needs structures such as the Alternative Enforcement Program to make sure that our laws regarding the minimum decent living conditions for New Yorkers are followed."

Magda Rosa-Rios, Supervising Attorney in the Harlem Community Law Office and the Tenants’ Rights Coalition at The Legal Aid Society said, “These tenants – and every city resident – shouldn’t have to suffer. The Legal Aid Society’s Tenant Rights Coalition, supported by the City’s Human Resource Administration (HRA), is currently preparing legal action to force the landlord to make the many needed repairs required by law. We’re looking forward to continuing our work with the City rooting out these slumlords, their abhorrent behaviors and ensuring New Yorkers have a decent and habitable place to call home.”

Landlords with properties that qualify for AEP are put on notice that comprehensive repairs must be made. If the owner does not correct the open violations and meet the other criteria for discharge from the program within the first four months of being on the list, HPD issues an order to correct. If corrections are still not made, HPD performs a building-wide inspection to determine the necessary repairs and required building system replacements. HPD then sends the bill for that work to the landlord. After repairs are made, monitoring by AEP staff ensures buildings do not fall back into disrepair, and that any new maintenance issues are corrected by the landlord. The program’s ultimate aim is improving conditions for tenants and avoiding the need for HPD to correct reoccurring problems.

The 250 buildings in Round 10 carry a total of 6,572 non-hazardous (A-class), 20,931 hazardous (B-class) and 5,103 immediately hazardous (C-class) violations. Violations classified as non-hazardous, or A-class, include conditions such as minor leaks, chipping or peeling paint when no children under the age of six live in the home, or lack of signs designating floor numbers. Violations classified as hazardous include conditions such as public area doors that are not self-closing, inadequate lighting, or the presence of vermin. Immediately hazardous violations include conditions such as inadequate fire exits, evidence of rodents, lead-based paint, and the lack of heat, hot water, electricity, or gas.

HPD is already active in these buildings. The agency’s Housing Litigation Division (HLD) currently has 250 housing court cases against the owners of 146 of the 2017 buildings. The legal cases relate issues such as heat or hot water outages, and access warrants for repairs to be made. The litigation division provides support for Tenant Action Cases, initiated by tenant against their landlords. HPD is owed nearly $900,000 by neglectful owners, for repairs made in their buildings by HPD through the agency’s Emergency Repair Program.

Number of Buildings/Units per Borough in AEP Round 10:

  • Manhattan: 46 buildings/866 units
  • Bronx: 63 buildings/1,341 units
  • Brooklyn: 127 buildings/1,537 units
  • Queens: 8 buildings/179 units
  • Staten Island: 6 buildings/40 units

To be discharged from the program, a building owner must act affirmatively to demonstrate that conditions at the property are improving. The owner must also submit a pest management plan to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene if there is an infestation and repay all outstanding charges and liens for emergency repair work performed by HPD, or enter into a repayment agreement with the NYC Department of Finance.

A total of 1,386 buildings, with a combined total of 18,319 apartments, have been discharged from the program to date. The City has recovered over $61.9 million in emergency repair charges, fees and liens (not including approved repayment plans).

Buildings/Units discharged throughout all previous rounds of the AEP (Rounds 1-9):

  • Manhattan: 210 buildings/4,397 units
  • Bronx: 547 buildings/9,626 units
  • Brooklyn: 1,028 buildings/8,097 units
  • Queens: 90 buildings/495 units
  • Staten Island: 12 buildings/132 units

Information for Owners on AEP can be found here:
FAQs for Building Owners on the Alternative Enforcement Program

Information for Tenants on AEP can be found here:
FAQs for Tenants on the Alternative Enforcement Program

The Round 10 list, all previous lists, and the above linked documents can be found in Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Korean, Haitian Creole, Russian, and Arabic on the HPD website linked here, Housing Quality Enforcement Programs: Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP)

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The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD):
HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing preservation and development agency. Its mission is to promote quality housing and diverse, thriving neighborhoods for New Yorkers through loan and development programs for new affordable housing, preservation of the affordability of the existing housing stock, enforcement of housing quality standards, and educational programs for tenants and building owners. HPD is tasked with fulfilling Mayor de Blasio’s Housing New York: A Five-Borough Ten-Year Plan to create and preserve 200,000 affordable units for New Yorkers at the very lowest incomes to those in the middle class. For more information visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.

About the Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP):
Legislation establishing the program, the 2007 New York City Safe Housing Law(Local Law No. 29 of 2007), calls for an annual list of different multiple dwellings with high counts of the most serious building code violations based on a broad set of criteria, including paid or unpaid emergency repair charges. Additional financing from Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council in 2014 allowed for an increase in the number of buildings in the annual round, from 200 to 250 buildings targeted a year. The funding allowed for increased AEP staff and an increase in emergency repairs that can be made by HPD.

 AEP Selection Criteria (Round 10):

  • Buildings with 15 or more units must have a ratio of 3 or more open “class B” and “class C” violations per dwelling unit issued in the past 5 years, and paid or unpaid ERP charges equal to or more than $2,500 incurred in the past 5 years as of January 30, 2017.
  • Buildings with between 3 and 14 units must have a ratio of 5 or more “class B” and “class C” violations per dwelling unit  issued in the past 5 years and paid or unpaid ERP charges equal to or less than $5,000 incurred in the past 5 years as of January 30, 2017.

The buildings selected must be ranked so that those with the highest paid or unpaid ERP charges in the last 5 years are selected first.  No more than 25 buildings with less than 6 units can be selected.

If there are not enough buildings that meet the above criteria, HPD may select the remainder of the buildings based on the following criteria:

  • Buildings with six or more units that have a ratio of 4 or more open class B or class C violations per dwelling unit issued in the past 5 years. The buildings selected must be ranked so that those with the highest number of open hazardous and immediately hazardous violations issued in the last 5 years are selected first.