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landlord helpStanding outside of a dilapidated Bronx apartment building, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio announced plans to launch an 8-point housing plan to hold the city’s worst landlords accountable for repairing their buildings.

Earlier, de Blasio launched the city’s “Worst Landlords Watch List” to shine a spotlight on repeat offenders whose buildings have fallen into dangerous disrepair. The online Watch List currently lists 418 buildings owned by 323 distinct landlords.

As part of new initiatives, Public Advocate de Blasio has teamed with Craigslist to expand NYC’s Worst Landlords Watch List so that tenants can easily network with others who live in different buildings but share the same landlord.

The list contains a ranking of Worst Landlords based on the number of infractions to housing codes using information provided by the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Currently, the landlord ranked #1 owns 66 buildings with a reported 2,047 infractions. The #2-ranked Worst Landlord has 1926 infractions in two buildings.

The initiatives are in response to a high number of complaints. More than 172,000 complaints about lack of heat alone flooded the system this winter.

The set of 8 initiatives proposed by de Blasio will bar chronically bad landlords from receiving taxpayer dollars and mobilize tenants in deteriorating buildings. The plan also includes an innovative partnership with private law firms to provide pro bono help in housing court, in addition to alerting apartment-hunters on Craigslist about landlords with a history of neglecting repairs.

We need to change New York’s approach to holding chronically bad landlords accountable, said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio. We need to creatively use the tools we have right at our fingertips so that more New Yorkers can finally live in safe apartments.

The approach includes both “carrot” and “stick” options –consequences for landlords who refuse to comply with the law, as well as assistance to well-intentioned landlords who want to improve their properties.

South Brooklyn Legal Services agrees that the initiatives may help “level the playing field” when it comes to legal disputes between landlords and tenants. “In theory, tenants do not need an attorney to enforce housing code standards in Housing Court. In practice, tenants do not have attorneys and landlords do, so an unscrupulous landlord can raise numerous procedural barriers that stop tenants from getting repairs completed, according to Brent Meltzer, Co-Director of South Brooklyn Legal Services’ Housing Unit. At South Brooklyn Legal Services, we do not have the resources to help the crush of tenants in need of legal support.”

The Watch List can also be viewed on de Blasio’s website.

With AAOA, landlords have resources at their fingertips. Check out our Landlord Forms page. American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your commercial housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

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  • jim e

    Wow… what a great idea!! Can we landlords post about the tenants that routinely steal rent and services from us?? I believe that if a landlord was to receive all the rent they were owed, they would have the money to fix up their buildings. I do not believe anyone wants to own a slum, they become a slum when you cant make ends meet because the system favors tenants and the process takes 3 months during which the tenant doesnt need to pay anything. Even after you receive a judgement the tenant only has to move and you cant find them. The PostOffice wont even help with a forwarding address because of “privacy rights”.
    Tenants walk away with our money tax free!! States could balance their budgets if I received all the money people owe me and I would then pay tax on that income. (I lose 20-30K a year) so we are talking Millions statewide! States would benefit and so would the US government. In the short term, maybe I should claim the worst ones as dependents…

  • Bobbi

    Maybe New York should consider changing their rent control laws to make it more affordable for landlords to maintain their buildings.

  • Gary Carlson

    Jim E. is exactly right. And, the article mentions “assistance” to the landlord to fix up his/her building. I guess that means the taxpayers are getting their pockets picked to “help” these poor tenants improve their living quarters. Why don’t they just move out if they don’t like the surroundings? Kind of puts a new slant on Craigslist, doesn’t it?

    Simple solution – pay your rent and if that doesn’t work, move along.

    Only in New York!!! Vote republican.

  • Guy in Ohio

    I agree with Jim. I have no intention of ever letting my properties fall into disrepair, but I’ve had tenants who have scammed me for thousands of dollars. Where are the watchdogs when that happens? Or we all just evil business owners who deserve to be punished for being “rich”?

  • Ron

    I second Jim’s E statement!!!

  • Jason Franklin

    I’ll third that sentiment. Craigslist has warnings all over the website about not discriminating. I’m all for posting the worst landlords, but let’s do the same for worst tenants. There are thousands of professional deadbeat tenants that move from one place to another. They put down the 1st month’s rent and never pay again. They know how to game the courts and after 6-12 months they abandon the apartment (after trashing it) and move on to the next place.

  • David R

    Nothing but scammers and thieves on Craigslist anymore anyway. I quit using them for ads a while back because the applicants and tenants I kept getting from CL ads were the worst.

    Maybe Craigslist can post a list of scammers that frequent their site. That list would be so large it would need its own zip code.

  • A don not rent to list would be great!!!!!!!!!!!

  • FMG Inc

    What a JOKE! A free listing to weed out bad landlords. How about a free listing to weed out bad tenants? There might be a few bad landlords giving all other landlords a bad name but I’m sure there are many more bad tenants. We lose tens of thousands of dollars a year due to non-payment of rents, attorney fees, court costs, sheriff costs and evictions. And to top this, we as landlords have no legal recourse. NY is such a LIBERAL state that it sickens me. I didn’t think that was such a liberal entity. Get out of NY before its too late. Texas, here we come! Yahooo!

  • mark

    I think it is a great idea. Rich Landlords do have attorneys, repair crews, agents and it is their business model to keep the properties in poor repair. You keep more of the rent! Why do you think they are they called “Slumlords”? We own several properties, make lots of cash and keep the properties in good order. We have routine inspections by code enforcement and make the necessary repairs. Of course we have had bad tenants. We also have great tenants.
    The bottom line. I welcome Craigslist postings. It makes the rental market more competitive and will force “Slumlords” into cleaning up their acts. It will make the code enforcement people enforce the housing code like it should be regardless of the political connections that the Slumlords have. It might also embarrass the ” Slumlord” into making the repairs. Posting on Craigslist will affect the “Slumlord”.

  • anitainmd

    I agree with Jim and Gary. The Landlord/Tenant laws are total slanted in favor of the tenant….who cares about the landlord struggling to make their mortgage b/c tenants do not pay their rent making it harder and harder to pay for repairs.

  • Don Dillon

    OK, I’m a landlord, and other landlords (the BAD ones) might hate me for saying this, but a program like this might actually HELP the landlords who are trying to provide decent housing for tenants. The fact of the matter is that bad tenants flourish because many landlords don’t do proper background checks and allow these bums to move from place to place, spreading their filth, bed bugs, bad checks, etc. I’ve actually seen examples of landlords giving GOOD recommendations to BAD tenants just to get RID of them! That’s why I always check with PREVIOUS landlords, as well (and weigh their recommendations more heavily), because they have nothing to lose by being honest! I know background checks aren’t a guarantee that you’ll get a good tenant, but to be honest, I’ve only been “burned” once, and that was only because my tenants decided to get divorced and neither could afford to keep the property by themselves, so they both abandoned the property. Something like this cannot usually be foreseen, so I still highly recommend THOROUGH background checks. A “Watch List” like this could also help GOOD tenants find GOOD landlords, with mutually satisfying results. Don’t hate me – just one man’s opinion!

  • Dena

    I am all for exposing bad landlords. Properties should be maintained. However, how about a free sight that exposes habitual deadbeats and dreadful tenants. There are more bad tenants than bad landlords. The system works for the tenants. It is high time there was a public site tgatvwarned the little guys out there!

  • How about craigslist Broadcast all Crimes
    committed through their listing

  • Kathy

    For all of you asking “Why is there not a public list of bad tenants” – why not start one?

  • CAR

    FYI, not all landlords are rich. I, for example, have had to rent out properties that I could not sell because of the housing market. Because of the economy, my rent requirements do not even cover the mortgage. And, like others, I have had tenants abusing the properties, not paying rent, and then moving on to the next sucker landlord. I’m all for a list of bad tenants. I can provide names to get the list going!

  • Ira

    What’s even worse is that the list of bad landlords is not accurate. The HPD is notorious for not keeping up with deleting corrected repairs and they keep them in their computers for 20 years or more.

    The department does not return calls or sends inspectors when the landlords request it,it only sends them running when a tenant calls. It is a total scam.

    I know of landlords that are considering legal action for smearing their names. So easy to be labeled a slumlord so difficult to find justice.

  • Munir

    Well, this is a tough business. I am yet to find any landlord who never faced with any bad tenants even after a lot of checking (credit, background, etc.) There are groups of bad tenants pro, who have mastered the technique and living free for the year by just paying one month of rent and damaging the property.

    I would advocate for nationwide tenant card (NTC) as there are city mandated inspection for the rental properties to keep it up for health and safety reasons. The NTC should be like drivers license where driving records can be obtained from DMV, any landlord can request a copy for a recent NTC, not from the present landlord or the previous one. The present landlord could be his/her uncle and the previous one could be his/her distant cousin. The whole philosophy is based on wrong assumptions, I ado not support slum landlords and neither support bad tenants. Further more, I am against not paying the appropriate taxes and unwilling to let go the rent from bad tenants.

    Not paying rent should be classified as misdemeanor and next time seeking another apartment should be very difficult if not impossible, however, there should be always exception to the rules, if there is a sudden change for the tenant family (sudden death, unemployment, divorce, etc) but should not to exceed 60 days and voluntarily vacant the unit without extra burden of eviction, it should work for all parties.

    It is an irony, if someone walks in a department store and walk away with merchandise, they are called thieves. What should be the name for those who move in and move out without paying rents? Craig’s list should run a name contest and also should run another competition for a list of landlords who never had bad tenants; landlords who own less than 8 units should be excluded.

  • brian Fabre

    Landlords can retaliate as follows:
    Go to judgment on rent. Record against their name, drivers license and social security number After finding a non profit organization that will accept freebies, donate it, the tenant was not going to pay anyway.

    What does it mean to the landlord? It is a schooling for the tenant. Most judgments are good for 10 years (Texas) and renewable for another 10 years. Lets see…….Most tenants are 20-25 years old. Add 20 years of landlord control of the tenants credit. Plus it draws interest! The operative word here is is a viable non profit orginization. QAny one want to set up a business??

  • Naomi Semeniuk

    I don’t see the worst landlord’s list anywhere just alot of hoopla about the list appearing in Craigslist. I emailed craigslist and got an automated response leading no where. Is this a scam of some kind promising something and then not being able to deliver it???WNYC radio had Di Blasio on saying it would appear on craigslist and it’s no where to be found! Where is the list????? Can somebody show that this is real and true because so far it’s much ado about nothing. Naomi Semeniuk

  • Nicole

    I agree!! any IT techiquies out there? that can start a website. If the state or county wont do anything for us, we need to start our selves. These dead beat tenants have to stop stealing, because thats exactly what they are doing!!

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