Mayor Announces New Office to Protect Tenants from the City’s ‘Worst Landlords’
The mayor is going further to hold corrupt landlords accountable in a more permanent fashion.
During his annual State of the City address yesterday, Mayor de Blasio announced the formation of the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants, an oversight agency to help regulate this escalating tenant harassment issue.
The nascent agency will ensure that the bureaucratic machinery—including the Department of Buildings, Housing Preservation and Development, and Social Services—“all work in unison,” according to City Hall spokesperson Jane Meyer. In addition to dealing with the city’s anti-harassment and outreach initiatives, it will be also be the “central resource” for tenants, landlords, and others.
Additionally, inspectors and law enforcement agents will visit buildings when landlords fail to remedy city violations as means to force out residents. Property owners will face fines and penalties, and can even go as far as seizing properties from repeat offenders and turn them over to nonprofit groups.
The budget for this department is $450,000, with a staff of five. A search is currently underway for a director. It’s expected to be operational this year.
“The city’s worst landlords will have a new sheriff to fear: the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants,” de Blasio said. “A new arm of city government that will root out the worst landlord abuse. A force that will hold every city agency as well accountable for protecting tenants.”
This move is preceded by a litany of legislation over the past few years with the aim of cracking down on tenant abuse, driven by the likes of notorious landlord Steve Croman.
What do you think, lip service from our pro-developer mayor?