Everyone in New York has a terrible landlord story.
Mine is that the lightbulbs in my apartment’s hallway went out. Well, first one went out and it was dim for a few months and then the second went out and then for days it was just dark and no one did anything about it. So finally I told my landlord I was going to buy new bulbs and the landlord, Dorothea, said, OK, but make sure they’re the new light bulbs (LED or CFL rather than incandescent) and I said, Sure, and she said I should deduct the cost from my rent check and staple the receipt to the check, which seemed like a lot of fuss, but I did it.
Two days after I paid my rent less light bulbs ($12 at the hardware store for two heavy-duty bulbs) my landlord called me and said that there’s no way the light bulbs cost that much and demanded to know what I’d done with the rest of the money. I was dumbstruck and we fought about it, which got heated. Dorothea said that she had gone to the the hardware store and asked to look at their receipt history, which is kept in a marble notebook, and saw a similar charge for hardhat on the day I bought the lightbulbs. She insisted I’d bought a hardhat with her money and fleeced her. I asked why I would want a hardhat and she noted, shrewdly, that I bike to work and might use it as a helmet. Well played, Dorothea.
What followed was a deep freeze in my relationship with Dorothea. The months of us not speaking to each other piled up and I didn’t shovel the front stoop when it snowed that winter, as I have in years past. In December, she raised our rent. Relations, in recent months have warmed, however, and we are now speaking again, I’m happy to report.
But not everyone is so lucky!
Civic-tech startup JustFix.nyc made a map of the buildings with the most outstanding HPD (Department of Housing Preservation and Development) violations.
JustFix helps renters take advantage of the housing codes of New York City to compel landlords to make repairs and maintain their buildings as prescribed by law. The company allows users to take photos of their problems and offers help in filling out the correct forms digitally to lodge complaints.
The worst offenders in Brooklyn are distributed widely by neighborhood, but Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights rack up especially high numbers of offending buildings.
— JustFix.nyc (@JustFixNYC) September 11, 2017
Violations include issues like defective carbon monoxide alarms, crumbling plaster, busted toilets, you get the idea.
The biggest violator we could find on the map was at 1055 Bergen St., in Bushwick — a 16-unit, four-floor walkup, which has 211 outstanding violations.
Knowledge is power!
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