NYCHA is named New York City’s worst landlord. Again.

NYCHA Elliot Houses complex in Chelsea.
NYCHA Elliot Houses complex in Chelsea.
rblfmr/Shutterstock
NYCHA Elliot Houses complex in Chelsea.

NYCHA is named New York City’s worst landlord. Again.

Who could have seen this coming?
December 17, 2019

For the second year in a row the New York City Housing Authority has been named the worst landlord in the city, much to the surprise of no one.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ Landlord Watchlist – which typically ranks the city’s worst private landlords annually – was released on Monday, and NYCHA made it to the top of the list, beating out all of the city’s other slumlords. In 2018, then-Public Advocate Letitia James was the first to crown NYCHA the city’s worst landlord.

“This really is a notice to all bad landlords that the public advocate might have changed but the list remains the same – and to no one’s surprise NYCHA is at the top of this year’s list,” James told the New York Post. “And even with the oversight of a new monitor and a new chair (at NYCHA), conditions have only gotten worse.”

So, how did NYCHA end up the city’s worst landlord for a second year in a row? The housing authority had 342,840 open work orders as of November – a 43% increase since last year. There are complaints of rat infestations, faulty fire exits, lead paint, a lack of heat and hot water, and other issues that make living in NYCHA housing unsafe and unsanitary, the Post reports. The cost for NYCHA’s necessary repairs is estimated to be $45,232,900,906, according to the Landlord Watchlist. But this is nothing new. NYCHA residents have been complaining about all of these issues for ages now, with no reprieve in sight.

NYCHA spokeswoman Barbara Brancaccio defended the public housing system and told the Post that it is “collaborating with the federal monitor to bring the authority into compliance, and laying the groundwork and implementing systemic changes to improve conditions for our residents.”

Following this news, The City reported on Tuesday that New York City paid a consultant $3 million for advice on how to reconfigure the public housing system, despite having already paid a consultant $10 million in 2012 for similar advice. 

Does the city really need more housing advice? We’re guessing those 342,840 open work orders might be able to give some indication of what changes might improve the lives of nearly half a million people living in NYCHA's buildings.

Correction: NYCHA did not commission the new $3 million report; it was paid for by the city.

Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
Amanda Luz Henning Santiago
is City & State's web reporter and social media editor.
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