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NYC Department of Housing Preservation & Development

Press ReleaseFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 3, 2011

Eric Bederman 212-863-5176


HPD COMMISSIONER CESTERO ANNOUNCES LIST OF 200 BUILDINGS WITH 3,300 UNITS IN LATEST ROUND OF ALTERNATIVE ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM USING NEW CRITERIA PASSED BY CITY COUNCIL

These 200 “Worst” Buildings Owe Combined $2.9 Million in Emergency Repair Charges and Carry More Than 37,500 Open Housing Code Violations

New Criteria More Than Doubles Units in AEP; Includes Significantly More Large Buildings

New York, NY - New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner Rafael E. Cestero released the list of 200 residential buildings that have been placed into the agency’s fourth round of the Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP). The AEP, which was originally signed into law in 2007, is aimed at increasing the pressure on the owners of the City’s most distressed residential buildings to bring the properties up to code so that the residents are not forced to live in substandard and hazardous conditions. The buildings were selected using the revised criteria that was passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor Bloomberg earlier this year. Under the amended legislation, the criteria for selection has been modified so that a greater number of buildings with 20 or more units qualify for the program, more than doubling the total of units from approximately 1,400 in the previous round to now more than 3,300. The legislation also specifically designates new conditions requiring improvement, and amends AEP’s discharge criteria to allow owners to pay their debt to the City over time as opposed to in a lump sum.

“We call these the “worst” buildings for a reason,” said HPD Commissioner Cestero. “For the families who call these Terrible 200 buildings home, the conditions pose a real threat to health and safety – not only to the tenants, but to the neighborhood as a whole. Any building allowed by its owner to reach this level of distress can be considered a blighting influence. The amendments made by the City Council to the law have allowed us to capture more of the City’s distressed large buildings, which because of their size pose an even greater risk to the quality of the surrounding neighborhood. These are important changes that will not only make AEP a more effective tool, but also allow us to discharge buildings from the program in a timelier manner. ”

“The New York City Council is committed to providing all New Yorkers with safe and healthy housing,” said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The Alternative Enforcement Program has been an important component of our efforts and our recent changes to the program will ensure its efficiency.  AEP allows the City to have a more targeted approach in addressing the needs of residents living in the worst buildings. HPD’s release of the list of properties that have been identified for Round 4 of the program, which will require owners to address conditions in more than 3,300 homes, just shows that when different branches of government collaborate together and partner with city advocates, we can make a real, acute impact on the lives of thousands of New Yorkers.  As always, I want to thank Commissioner Rafael Cestero for his ongoing work on this.”

Under the new requirements, two sets of criteria expand the reach of AEP to include more units, and thus benefit thousands more New York families. In this round, buildings with more than 20 units had to have three or more open hazardous or immediately hazardous violations per unit issued in the past two years, and Emergency Repair Program (ERP) charges of $5,000 or more for the same time period to qualify. ERP charges are money owed by the owners to the City for repairs done by HPD to correct immediately hazardous violations that the owner failed to address. Residential buildings with between three and 20 units qualified if the building had five or more open hazardous or immediately hazardous violations per unit issued in the past two years, and emergency repair charges of $2,500 or more for the same time period. In this AEP round, the buildings with the highest ERP paid and unpaid in the last two years were selected. 

Of the 200 buildings selected in this round, 23 are located in Manhattan; 70 are in the Bronx; 99 in Brooklyn; seven are in Queens and one is located on Staten Island. Together they carry a total of 20,352 hazardous and immediately hazardous, or “C” violations, and owe the City more than $2.9 million in ERP charges.

Changes in the legislation have not only increased the number of units by increasing the number of large buildings ushered into AEP. Round four includes 61 buildings with 21 or more units (2,442 units total) where under the previous criteria no more then 22 buildings in the same size category made the list in years past. With 104 units, the property located at 2421 Webster Avenue in the Bronx is the largest included in AEP to date. It carries a total of 331 hazardous and immediately hazardous violations (3.1 per unit issued in the last two years) and emergency repair charges totaling $21,116 over the same time period.

The legislation also amends AEP’s discharge criteria to allow buildings to be removed from the program when owners enter payment agreements and have met the necessary criteria for correction of violations. Previously building owners were required to reimburse all ERP and AEP fees in one lump sum payment. This change will prevent the City from accruing extra costs while buildings sit in the program, allow for the collection of fees in a timely manner, and allow owners to focus on maintaining their property rather than paying down mounting fees.

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 of that year. 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. Landlords with properties selected for the AEP have been put on notice that comprehensive repairs must be made. If those repairs are not initiated HPD is 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 is aimed at improving conditions for tenants and to avoid the need for HPD personnel to repeatedly visit these buildings to correct reoccurring problems. For more information on AEP and to view the Round 4 list (FY 2011) please visit HPD’s website at, http://www.nyc.gov/html/hpd/html/owners/aep.shtml

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About the NYC 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 viable neighborhoods for New Yorkers through education, outreach, loan and development programs and enforcement of housing quality standards. It is responsible for implementing Mayor Bloomberg’s New Housing Marketplace Plan to finance the construction or preservation of 165,000 units of affordable housing by 2014. Since the plan’s inception, more than 110,300 affordable homes have been created or preserved. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hpd.


 




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