NEW YORK CITY — Brooklyn has the most entries in the recent list of “200 Worst Residential Buildings in New York City,” released by the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).
With 107 buildings and 735 units, Brooklyn had more than the four other boroughs combined, according to a published statement from HPD Commissioner Mathew Wambua, who said the 200 residential buildings have been placed into the agency’s fifth round of the Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP). The AEP, which was originally signed into law in 2007, is aimed at increasing pressure on the owners of the most distressed buildings to bring them up to code so that the residents are not forced to live in substandard and hazardous conditions.
“AEP has proven to be an effective way to corral these bad buildings and deal with them in a comprehensive manner,” said Wambua. “Since the new amendments to AEP were adopted last year we’ve seen a rise in the rate at which buildings are discharged from the program, as well as a substantial uptick in the repayment of emergency and other repair costs. It is unfortunate that some owners will only respond when punitive measures are brought to bear.
“AEP can be a driving force for neighborhood stabilization,” Wambua added.
Together, the newest list of 200 buildings carries a total of 5,484 non-hazardous, 16,701 hazardous and 4,525 immediately hazardous violations, and represents more than $1.3 million in Emergency Repair Program (ERP) charges owed to the city for repairs done by the HPD to correct violations the owners failed to address in a timely manner.
Last year’s fourth round was the first group of 200 buildings brought in under new legislative requirements that went into effect in January 2011, laying out criteria to expand the reach of AEP to include larger buildings, and thus benefit thousands more families. The legislation also specifically designates new conditions requiring improvement — such as mold and vermin violations — and amends the discharge criteria to allow owners to pay their debt to the city over time.
All indications are that the 2011 AEP legislation is working as intended, according to Wambua. Wambua noted that of the 200 buildings in round four, 101 have been discharged, 29,519 violations have been corrected, and the city has directly recovered more than $1.57 million in ERP charges, AEP fees and liens.
Brooklyn was also first in buildings and units throughout all previous rounds of the AEP (rounds 1-4) with a total of 480 buildings, 3,137 units, followed by the Bronx with 244 buildings, 4,373 units; Queens with 30 buildings, 129 units; Manhattan with 43 buildings, 832 units; and Staten Island with 3 buildings, 23 units.