Throughout the COVID pandemic, NYC has been one of the most proactive U.S. cities as far as curbing mass evictions and homelessness during the economic shutdowns. Indeed, since the eviction moratorium was set in March 2020, no evictions happened in NYC until November. But even with legal protections in place, evidence shows that many New York landlords haven’t shown much improvement in how they treat their tenants or how well they keep up their properties. While they haven’t been able to evict tenants outright, they have found other ways to make their lives miserable, including failing to respond to rodent infestations, toxic mold growth, water damage, utility failures, and a host of others—not to mention continuing to look for legal ways to evict their tenants despite the moratorium.
Examples of Landlord Atrocities
Every year, the New York City Public Advocate publishes a Worst Landlord Watchlist—and 2020’s list shows that NYC landlords have been as negligent and ruthless during the pandemic as they were before. The worst of the worst tend to have hundreds or thousands of open, unaddressed violations at any time, ranging from rat infestations to lead exposure to consistent lack of heat and hot water. Some specific examples to mention:
In October, a group of Brooklyn tenants staged a rent strike to protest the negligence of their landlord, a private landlord who consistently tops the Worst Landlord Watchlist. They complained of such violations as defective locks, rodent infestations, peeling lead paint, and constant mold. After initially agreeing to negotiations, his response was to threaten to evict all the tenants involved.
A woman in the Bronx reports that her landlord (also consistently on the Watchlist) routinely harasses his tenants for reporting violations. She says their building has been without gas throughout much of the pandemic, and her landlord has been known to practice illegal piping of gas.
For the third straight year, NYCHA (New York’s public housing authority) has topped the list as the city’s Worst Landlord. Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams has railed against the de Blasio administration for allowing unacceptable living conditions to continue unaddressed in hundreds of public housing complexes, adding to the peril of residents now forced to stay home during lockdowns—and often unable to practice social distancing.
Dealing with Bad Landlords in New York City
If you are dealing with a bad living situation in New York City due to landlord negligence, or if your landlord has unfairly harassed or threatened you—and if your complaints to the city have gone unanswered—you are not without help. Our law firm has extensive experience in holding landlords accountable for bad actions and negligence. Contact our office to learn more.