The 2020 "Landlord Watchlist" was published this week by the Office of NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Let's preface by saying that while LandlordsNY, nor its members, certainly aren't condoning landlords that violate the law or endanger the health and well being of tenants, we do take umbrage at hardworking and honest landlords getting slandered publicly in this fashion. Are these landlords allowed to publish "100 Worst Tenants" Lists? What would the public outcry over that be? Out of curiosity, how many landlords on this list do not rightfully belong on it and have they been able to get their names removed? The list, often rife with errors, has historically failed to take into account or report on NYC's largest landlord - NYCHA. (in other words....who's watching the watchdog?) This year there is a special section for its $45 billion repairs backlog, noting that because NYCHA buildings are not issued violations by HPD (that's another Blog, another day), work orders are used to obtain the average number of open work orders for all NYCHA developments.
A number of landlords dispute being included on it for reasons such as they recently purchased a property and inherited the violations which they're actively working to cure. While not the case for all, there are those that have repeatedly tried to get their name removed to no avail. One example: a LandlordsNY member purchased a property already in the 7A program and continued upgrading the building. He was wrongly on the list for two years in a row despite repeated efforts and outreach to the Public Advocate's office (then held by Letitia James) and reassurance that their name was removed. It was only until a news outlet's reporters inquired to James' office about this discrepancy that their name was removed.
There should be more transparency on the legitimacy and parameters applied to making and publishing this list, if truly intended to be more than a political tool to further the divide between landlords and tenants. Apparently if you have high turnover of rent regulated units, you end up on the list. This is not to say that if forcing tenants out because of unsafe living conditions or harassment - one should not be called out. But, if you're simply running a business and legally trying to make a profit, that's hardly grounds for being on "The List."