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The city public advocate is working on new legislation that would turn up the heat on landlords, including four in southeast Queens, who fail to meet their tenants’ basic needs during the winter.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s Heat Enforcement for All Tenants Act would increase the penalties on building owners who do not provide heat or adequate heat during the winter months. His office has compiled a list of landlords with the most open heat or hot water offenses and four Queens buildings, three of which are located in southeast Queens, have a combined total of 250 heat-related building violations this winter.
“These four Queens buildings are just the tip of the iceberg, but I know we can fix this. We have got to close the loopholes that let bad landlords get away with this,” the public advocate said in a statement.
Landlords must provide their tenants with hot water year-round and heat from October to May whenever the temperature falls below 55 degrees during the day and below 44 degrees at night, under city law. The HEAT act would fine those landlords with repeated heat or hot water violations up to $1,000 per unit per day and it would require them to have no violations for a full two years before penalties would reset to a $500 fine.
De Blasio has updated his online worst landlords watch list and map to include a directory of heat and hot water violations for New Yorkers to check out.
The Queens building with the most violations is at 88-22 Parsons Blvd., which is no stranger to infrastructure problems. The 37-unit apartment building, which had 143 heat infractions as of last Thursday, has 27 open Environmental Control Board violations from the city Department of Buildings for failed plumbing services and a broken elevator, according to DOB records.
The tenants have repeatedly filed complaints to the city about their landlord, Avi Feder, but nothing has been done.
The other Queens buildings listed in the public advocate’s heat violation database included 108-30 Liverpool St. in Jamaica, which had 50 infractions for its three-unit building; 94-11 134th St. in Jamaica, which had 28 infractions for its two-unit building; and 29-37 Beach Channel Drive in the Rockaways, which had 28 infractions for its two units.
Howard Henderson was listed as the landlord of the Liverpool Street building, while information on who owned the other properties was not available.
City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton) is one of the co-sponsors of the HEAT act and said it was “ungodly” for New Yorkers to be left in the cold in their own homes.
“I want to make sure no one suffers from this problem. I want to make sure no landlords for the love of a dollar bill would put people’s lives at risk,” he said.
Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4546.
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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