Identifying City’s Worst Landlords via Craigslist, and Trying to Penalize Them

April 4, 2011  |  

(New York Times) — It is almost second nature for some New York City tenants to suspect their landlords of cutting corners when it comes to fixing a balky heater or securing dangling light fixtures.  But now tenants can find out a lot more about any landlord’s portfolio by clicking a link, “NYC’s worst landlords,” on the apartment search pages on Craigslist. It provides information that highlights, with the help of Google Maps, landlords with the worst inspection records.  The agreement with Craigslist is part of an eight-point package that Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, is proposing on Monday to empower tenants and compel landlords to act more responsibly.

And with the support of the Bloomberg administration, the package would deprive landlords with dubious records of certain taxpayer subsidies; they would not, for example, be permitted to accept rental vouchers, and they would be denied new leases or lease renewals from city agencies.  “We need a more aggressive and creative approach,” Mr. de Blasio said. “And when landlords know that there will be financial ramifications to inappropriate behavior, that is the best way to induce change.”  Mr. de Blasio’s package arrives at a time when the issue of affordable housing for low-income families has become a more prominent concern. In Albany, tenant and landlord advocates are girding for a major battle over state rent regulations that are due to expire in June.

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