March 4, 2020
New Anti-Harassment Unit seeks nearly $400,000 from owners in court
HPD selects 250 troubled buildings with more than 41,000 violations for enhanced enforcement under Alternative Enforcement Program
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NEW YORK, NY – New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) announced today sweeping enforcement actions against landlords. The agency is seeking nearly $400,000 in housing court from two owners of six buildings in Manhattan and the Bronx, as a result of work done by the new Anti-Harassment Unit (AHU). HPD also announced that 250 apartment buildings have been placed in HPD’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP), an initiative that brings intensive enforcement to multi-family buildings whose owners have allowed them to fall into disrepair.
“Every New Yorker has the right to live in a safe home without fear of being mistreated by a bad landlord. Our Anti-Harassment Unit has hit the ground running and will continue to amplify our enforcement team’s stellar work when it comes to keeping tenants safe and holding bad actors accountable. Our Alternative Enforcement Program is one of the toughest tools available to make real changes in troubled buildings,” said HPD Commissioner Louise Carroll. “I thank the dedicated team at HPD for their relentless efforts to create better outcomes tenants throughout the five boroughs.”
“We will not tolerate any form of landlord harassment or discrimination. The City Council has pushed many initiatives to protect tenants from bad landlords, including the creation of the citywide certificate of no harassment and the speculation watch list. New Yorkers should be able to live peacefully at home with basic services provided by their landlords, and not live in fear of the possibility of displacement. I am proud of all the work the City Council has done and is doing to penalize unscrupulous landlords and protect renters,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“More than 75 percent of complaints from my constituents are about horrendous housing conditions and unresponsive landlords. We continuously fight against the harassment, injustice and the physical and psychological harm to tenants, especially young children that result from landlords’ callous indifference,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “Now we have a new tool in the Anti-Harassment Unit has aggressively pursued enforcement action against unscrupulous landlords and it’s working. I commend HPD and Commissioner Carroll for this achievement.”
"The Alternative Enforcement Program has proven to be an effective mechanism for protecting tenants from uninhabitable living conditions and empowering them to remain in their homes and communities," said Assemblyman Steven Cymbrowitz (D-Brooklyn), Chair of the Assembly Housing Committee. "This program is one way that we are working in both city and state government to preserve affordable apartments in buildings and neighborhoods that are most at risk, and to ensure that bad actors are held accountable for knowingly allowing apartments to fall into disrepair."
HPD’s Anti-Harassment Unit (AHU) is seeking court orders to halt harassment and correct conditions at six buildings in the Bronx and Manhattan.
The first owner, Moshe Stahl, is facing $300,000 in civil penalties for neglecting three Bronx buildings that have a total of 330 hazardous violations:
The second owner, Joseph Soleimani, is facing $90,000 in civil penalties for neglecting three Manhattan buildings that have a total of 320 hazardous violations:
HPD’s Anti-Harassment Unit (AHU) was formed in 2019 to address tenant harassment throughout the five boroughs. Since its launch, AHU has performed over 950 building-wide inspections and recommended over 40 comprehensive cases for legal action.
Enhanced Focus on Troubled Properties
This is the 13th year of the AEP program, and this round’s 250 buildings – home to 5,401 families – have a combined total of 41,142 housing code violations. HPD’s Housing Litigation Division (HLD) is currently active in housing court cases against the owners of 146 of these buildings, including 48 cases where HPD is seeking to compel the owner to correct all violations.
This is the most units and the most violations in any Round of AEP. Since AEP’s inception, 2,214 buildings with more than 30,000 apartments have been discharged from the program.
Number of Buildings/Homes per Borough in AEP Round 13:
The 250 buildings in Round 13 have a total of 8,963 immediately hazardous (Class-C) violations, 23,146 hazardous (Class-B), and 8,868 non-hazardous (Class-A). Immediately hazardous violations include mold, evidence of rodents, lead-based paint, and the lack of heat, hot water, or electricity. Class-B hazardous violations include repair conditions, such as leaks or holes in plaster or sheetrock. Non-hazardous, or Class-A violations, include chipping or peeling paint when no children under the age of six live in the home.
The Round 13 buildings already owe the City more than $1.2 million for HPD Emergency Repair Program charges. ERP charges accrue when repairs are done by HPD to correct immediately hazardous violations that the owner failed to address in a timely manner.
To be discharged from the program, a building owner must act affirmatively to correct violations, 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.
If you believe that the owner of your building is withholding essential services or not making repairs to force you to move out of your apartment, contact the HPD Anti-Harassment Unit (AHU) by calling 311.
The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (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 Plan which was recently expanded and accelerated through Housing New York 2.0 to complete the initial goal of 200,000 homes two years ahead of schedule—by 2022, and achieve an additional 100,000 homes over the following four years, for a total of 300,000 homes by 2026. For full details visit www.nyc.gov/hpd and for regular updates on HPD news and services, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @NYCHousing.