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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 40-07
Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Seth McM. Donlin (212) 863-5176
Andrew Doba (646) 263-1877


HPD AND CITY COUNCIL ANNOUNCE LAUNCH OF ALTERNATIVE ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM TO REPAIR TROUBLED RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS

Safe Housing Law Takes Effect with Release of the List of the First 200 Properties Subject to Increased Inspections and Full System Repairs

List of the 200 buildings (PDF)

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Shaun Donovan and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn today announced the launch of HPD’s new housing safety program, the Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP), by unveiling the list of the first 200 affected properties. Aimed at increasing the pressure on the owners of some of the City’s most distressed residential buildings to bring the buildings up to code, the program focuses on a small percentage of buildings that generate a disproportionate percentage of HPD’s current enforcement activity. Landlords will be put on notice that comprehensive repairs must be made. If they are not, HPD will now be authorized to undertake a comprehensive review of the building, to make the necessary repairs, and to bill the landlord for that work. After repairs are made, there will be an ongoing monitoring program to ensure buildings do not fall back into disrepair and that necessary ongoing maintenance is made by the landlord. The program will improve conditions for tenants and avoid the need for HPD personnel to visit these buildings again and again to correct similar reoccurring problems. The legislation establishing the AEP—the New York City Safe Housing Law (Local Law No. 29 of 2007)—was passed by the City Council in April 2007 and signed into law by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on June 15.

“With the inauguration of the Alternative Enforcement Program, the landlords of 200 New York City properties are now on notice that we will not tolerate unsafe conditions for tenants and the willful disregard of the City’s Housing Maintenance Code,” said Commissioner Donovan. “The Alternative Enforcement Program creates an innovative new tool specifically designed to fill a gap in HPD’s broad and aggressive enforcement programs. By targeting and fixing some of the worst buildings in the city, the AEP serves to strengthen our commitment to ensuring that all landlords meet their obligation to provide decent and safe housing for all tenants. While New York City’s emergency repair program is by far the largest in the nation and the 2005 Housing and Vacancy Study showed that overall satisfaction with the City’s housing stock is the highest ever recorded, the AEP will allow us to focus on the stubborn minority of unacceptable buildings.”

“For too long, tenants have paid the price when the city's worst landlords drag their feet making repairs," said Council Speaker Christine Quinn.  "That's about to change.  Under the Safe Housing Law, tenants won't have to wait for negligent landlords to make repairs they've promised time and again to make.  Instead, HPD will go in, assess the damage, make the repairs and send the landlord the bill."

The program calls for the designation each year of 200 different multiple dwellings, each to be chosen based on specific criteria set forth in the Safe Housing Law. This year, buildings were chosen from a list of those that had 27 or more open hazardous or immediately hazardous housing maintenance code violations issued over the past two years and, during the same time period, had a ratio of five or more hazardous or immediately hazardous violations per unit as well as an unpaid emergency repair balance of more than $100 per unit. Of the 200 buildings selected, nine are located in Manhattan; 52 are located in the Bronx; 132 are located in Brooklyn; six are located in Queens and one is located on Staten Island. Together they carry almost $2.4 million in unpaid emergency repair charges.

"We all too often only hear the horror stories of people living in these problem buildings," said Housing and Buildings Chair Erik Martin Dilan. "With the release of this list, we now have a clear path to follow in rehabilitating some of these hazardous units of housing.  And each subsequent year, we will continue to revitalize problem buildings one by one, creating a new standard for livable housing in New York City."

"The Safe Housing Law is the result of many years of hard work," said Council Member Letitia James.  "As the lead sponsor of the bill, I am looking forward to the real changes the AEP program will bring.  HPD now has the authority it needs to ensure that the worst conditions and most dilapidated buildings are repaired.  Through this multi-year initiative, New York's low-and moderate-income households are finally guaranteed decent and safe housing.  I am confident that within a few years, the housing stock in New York City will be greatly improved."

“This new program is an important step forward, truly holding the worst-of-the-worst accountable and ensuring that tenants are able to live in safe, decent conditions,” said Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development Deputy Director Benjamin Dulchin. “We commend HPD, the City Council and the community groups that made this powerful new tool possible.”

In order for an AEP multiple dwelling to be discharged from the program , the owner must, within the first four months of receipt of the initial HPD notice, apply for an AEP Dismissal Request Inspection and:

  • Correct 100% of violations directly related to providing heat and hot water.
  • Correct a minimum of 80% of class “B” (hazardous) and “C” (immediately hazardous) violations.
  • Pay all outstanding charges, including liens, for emergency repair work performed by HPD. Payment should be made to the Department of Finance.
  • Submit a current and valid property registration statement.
  • Apply for an AEP Dismissal Request Inspection.

Multiple dwellings that are not discharged within the first four months will be subject to building-wide inspections, fees, and extensive repair work to correct violations and underlying conditions. Repairs may include replacement of entire systems, such as the domestic water supply, the heating plant and the roof. An AEP Order to Correct describing needed repair work will be filed with the County Clerk.

In order for a multiple dwelling to be discharged from the AEP after the first four months of the HPD initial notice the owner, in addition to all of the criteria listed above, must:

  • Correct all related underlying conditions detailed in the AEP Order to Correct.
  • Pay all fees, including liens, for inspections and other action undertaken by HPD.
  • Attend an HPD approved course of training relating to basic building operation and maintenance.

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The Department of Housing Preservation and Development's mission is to promote quality housing and viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers. The department is the nation's largest municipal housing development agency and is implementing Mayor Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan to build and preserve 165,000 units of affordable housing over ten years. The New Housing Marketplace Plan is the largest municipal affordable housing effort in the nation's history. HPD also encourages the preservation of affordable housing through education, outreach, loan programs and enforcement of housing quality standards.




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