NEW YORK – These New York City landlords were the worst of the worst in 2017.
Public Advocate Letitia James released her worst landlords list Tuesday morning. To make the top of the list, a landlord has to have one of the city's highest number of open housing code violations.
The worst landlord of 2017 was Jonathan Cohen and Silvershore Properties, whose 19 buildings in Brooklyn and Queens have 1,090 violations -- that's an average of more than 57 housing and building code violations per building.
One of Manhattan's most prominent offenders, according to James, is Joel Goldstein of GFB Management. The public advocate toured his building at 356 West 145th Street / 680 St. Nicholas Ave. Tuesday afternoon. There, she had a walk through of resident Arthur James's apartment.
"I went to the office and told them that my cabinet fell down," said Mr. James, a three-decade resident of the building and no relation to the public advocate. "Nobody been here yet to fix nothing," Mr. James told PIX11 News.
"Been almost like a year," he said. "This is the worst that the building ever been like this."
Arthur James also showed the barely-plugged mouse hole in his living room, and his loosely attached bathroom fixtures.
Evelyn Morgan, another resident, and president of the tenants' association, said that the list of problems is long.
"We have unlocked doors," she said, about one of the two main entrances to the building, "because two months ago, somebody followed me into my building. There's people peeing in the building," Morgan said, "because the door is unlocked. It's not safe any more."
PIX11 checked the door that she'd referenced, and found that indeed it was not locked, even though it's about fifty steps away from one of the city's busiest subway exits, where pedestrian traffic is very high.
"The Worst Landlords Watchlist is a powerful tool to put these unscrupulous landlords on notice and gives tenants the tools to hold them accountable," Letitia James said, at a rally to unveil the list on Tuesday morning. "We will continue to identify the worst abusers of tenants and take on practices that deny working families a chance to simply live in safe, decent housing."
A building owned by the 12th worst landlord on the list, Deodat Lowtan, has leaks, water damage and a dilapidated fire escape, said resident Antonio Dominguez. Lowtan has 14 buildings on the list and recently bought the one Dominguez lives in.
“Deodat Lowtan recently bought the building and has been pressuring us to leave," Dominguez said. Not only are the conditions bad, but the new owner has approached us with illegal buyout offers. Mr. Lowtan also refused to accept my rent, then used it to start a non-payment case against me."
Jonathan Cohen and Silvershore Properties, the entity at the top of the Worst Landlords List, sent a statement to PIX11 News.
"Nineteen buildings that Silvershore recently purchased were listed as having an average of a large number of open violations in 2017," the statement said. 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. We have done a tremendous amount of work in these properties and expect the number of violations to be reduced significantly once the HPD dismissal inspections are scheduled this month. We have been extremely proactive about addressing any issues in each of the buildings. The violations cannot be removed until there is an inspection; majority of the work has been completed and we are awaiting an inspection date."
GFB Management, the owner of the property that the public advocate toured, at 356 West 145th Street / 680 St. Nicholas Ave., also issued a statement to PIX11 News: “We are committed to operating this property in compliance with all regulation, dedicated to remediating all violations as quickly as possible, and creating the best possible environment for our tenants. We have been working to clear pre-existing violations since taking over management in September, and will soon submit for dismissal inspections on the majority of violations.”
Public Advocate James did point out, however, that being on the list can sometimes be a positive for both the landlord and the tenants. "There are some on our list who got the message," James said. "Six landlords who were on our list last year are no longer on the list, and we thank them."
These are the top 10 worst landlords. For the full list, click here:
- Jonathan Cohen/Silvershore Properties(188 units in 19 buildings with 1090 HPD violations)
- Rawle Isaacs(214 units in 4 buildings with 969 HPD violations)
- Thomas Steiner(320 units in 4 buildings with 843 HPD violations)
- Bruce Haley(170 units in 8 buildings with 826 HPD violations)
- Eric Silverstein(237 units in 3 buildings with 739 HPD violations)
- Adam Stryker(177 units in 11 buildings with 734 HPD violations)
- Joel Goldstein(209 units in 10 buildings with 721 HPD violations)
- Meir Fried(131 units in 18 buildings with 718 HPD violations)
- Mark Tress(20 units in 1 building with 650 HPD violations)
- Robert Kaszovitz(207 units in 4 buildings with 597 HPD violations)