Nov. 24, 2015 By Jackie Strawbridge
The Public Advocate released the annual “landlord watchlist” on Monday and pinpointed buildings in western Queens as some of the Borough’s worst, although acknowledging some glitches in the data.
The Worst Landlords Watchlist is an information-sharing tool that allows New Yorkers to identify buildings and property owners who rake in violations from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Then-Public Advocate, now Mayor Bill de Blasio started the list in 2010; Public Advocate Letitia James added Department of Buildings complaints to the data this year.
Topping the Queens list in terms of the number of HPD violations and DOB complaints was 39-30 59 St. in Woodside. According to the watchlist, this property has more than 270 violations and complaints. This property made the list last year as well, as the Sunnyside Post reported at the time.
This property is owned by Woodside Silver Associates headed by Harry Silverstein, who ranked second on James’ list of the 100 worst landlords in the entire City.
According to the Public Advocate’s office, Silverstein has collected nearly 1,500 violations across seven buildings.
Silverstein could not be reached for comment as of press time.
A Sunnyside building, 43-15 46th St., was listed as the third-worst in Queens with more than 220 violations/complaints. This building was also listed last year.
When the Sunnyside Post called the number associated with this property on DOB documents, a receptionist with Aras Properties said they manage the building, which is a co-op.
The landlord watchlist is intended only for rental buildings.
“A few co-ops unfortunately did make it on because [of] imperfections in the way the data is categorized,” a spokesperson for James said. “However, they will be removed in the next day or two.”
This was evidently not the watchlist’s only error.
Crains has reported that the list misstated the number of units owned by at least one landlord. The Public Advocate’s office told Crains that a computer glitch caused that error. Another landlord who had purchased a property with pre-existing problems was put on the list – a mistake that reportedly happened last year as well.
James’ office has a process in place for landlords who are accidentally on the list – the landlords are encouraged to reach out to her office themselves