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Nov 14, 2017
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BRONX NEWS: Public Advocate reveals city’s 100 worst landlords


They’re the city’s top landlords — in rat infestations, holes in the wall and leaking ceilings.


Public Advocate Letitia James unveiled this year’s list of the city’s 100 worst landlords Tuesday. The No. 1 spot went to Jonathan Cohen of Silvershore Properties, whose 19 buildings in Brooklyn and Queens racked up 1090 housing code violations.


“There are some unscrupulous property owners who have chosen to exploit the market and the dire need for housing. They subject their tenants to dangerous and unsanitary conditions — apartments infested with vermin and mold, ceilings falling in, no heat or hot water, no electricity, units that are literally falling apart,” James said at a press conference at Foley Square.


“Today, we shame them,” she said.

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Up next on the list were Rawle Isaacs, whose four buildings have 969 violations, and Thomas Steiner, whose four buildings have 843.


The number of violations is an average based on a dozen points in time over the last year.


Sylvia Tapia, 42, who lives in a building owned by Cohen’s company in Sunset Park, said garbage piles up in the courtyard and she’s forced to walk her three kids to school past trespassers in the building using drugs.


“We are human, and we deserve to live in a safe home,” she said. “We don’t want to live for free. We pay rent, so we should get the repairs that we need.”

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After months of complaints, repairmen were finally sent to address mold on the bathroom floor and walls, a leaking sink and toilet, and a sink coming out of the wall — but the job was left half done. “They come today, they make a hole in the wall, they leave,” she said. “They tell me they’re going to come back, but they never come back.”


Tenants at the Silvershore properties have sued over the conditions.


The company said in an email that the 19 buildings on the list were purchased recently. The “majority of the properties have been purchased from long term owners who have neglected the properties and many of the problems causing the violations were inherited at our purchase,” the statement said.


“We have done a tremendous amount of work in these properties and expect the number of violations to be reduced significantly once the [Department of Housing Preservation and Development] dismissal inspections are scheduled this month. We have been extremely proactive about addressing any issues in each of the buildings.”

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The other landlords could not be reached for comment.


Michelle Stamp, whose Crown Heights building is owned by Rubin Dukler, the eleventh worst landlord on the list, said she’s angry for her 98-year grandmother, who has lived there for over 50 years.


“This gentleman does nothing. He doesn’t do any repairs. We are infested with vermin and insects and leaks and mold. You name it, we have it,” said Stamp, 54. “When you call, they’ll ignore you, and when you persist, they’ll harass you until you give up.”


Six of the landlords who were in the top 10 in 2016 are now off the worst landlord list altogether because of improvements in their buildings.

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Later Tuesday, James toured a building on Macon St. in Bedford-Stuyvesant owned by Ervin Johnson, who is No. 14 on the list. There, five of the 16 units are empty because tenants have taken buyouts to leave — and those who have held on say they’re suffering.


“This place is a mess. I’ve never seen a place like this in my whole life,” said tenant Tim Nash, 68. “And things keep breaking down. When they fix it, it breaks down again. Back and forth, back and forth, over and over again.”


Solomon Quick said he was offered just ,000 to move out, and declined.


Quick, 73, is retired, while his wife works as a home health aide. “For her to come home to filth, people having sex in the hallway, urine, and the building being so dirty, there being no heat and hot water- it’s not right,” he said.

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affordable housing
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letitia james

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Public Advocate reveals city’s 100 worst landlords

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