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The Worst Landlords in NYC 

One thing just about anyone from the City can attest to, is that NYC is home to some of the worst landlords in the country. This is another example of a group of people who need to be held accountable – for their inactions, in this case. Letting tenants live in horrific conditions while these big landlords live in mansions, making millions, is truly a crime against humanity.

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It’s one thing to make millions in real estate legitimately, even as a landlord, as long as you’re honestly doing your best to run your business with integrity. Caring about the conditions at your property (or properties), is like, the one requirement for being a decent, successful landlord – which is, at the least, one who doesn’t end up on one of these lists. To most of us, this seems pretty straightforward and simple.

Tenant makes a formal complaint, super or manager calls the appropriate service, problem solved. That’s how a decent landlord handles a rental property, ideally. And why wouldn’t you care about your own property? Is it not an investment? I really don’t think that’s too much to ask – after all, it’s not like these owners are hurting for cash. So why are these bad actors allowed to continue their reign? It is indeed time for a change, and a day of reckoning is due for NYC’s worst.

The New York City Housing Authority

What I find most ironic is that the City itself is its own worst enemy, in that they do not hold themselves accountable to the same standards as everyone else. I mean, this “authority” sets the visible standard for accepted behavior, in landlords operating within the City, and yet they themselves make the top of the lists more often than not. There’s something wrong with this picture.

The NYCHA has many buildings all over NYC that provide citizens with necessary affordable housing. via NYCHA

The NYCHA’s properties are consistently some of the worst in the city. They currently have a backlog of a hard to believe 600,480 work orders, as of the end of November 2021, gaining 121,600 more from the year before. This was the fourth year in a row that the Housing “Authority” was ranked the worst overall landlord in NYC. What a joke. The NYCHA is responsible for over 400,000 low income residents currently in their system of housing, and is considered a Bill de Blasio failure.

This year the worst individual landlord, according to NYC Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams’ most recent Watchlist, is David Schorr. Schorr owns 17 properties featured on the Watchlist, and had an average of 1,442 open violations throughout those 330 units. That averages more than 4 violations per unit. His properties are primarily in Harlem and Morningside Heights.

Violations range from rat and roach infestations, lead paint, mold, leaks, etc. Schorr is associated with Sugar Hill Capital Partners, and according to his LinkedIn profile, he left Sugar Hill in September for Fairstead real estate company. This only means we’ll have to keep a very close eye on Fairstead, from now on.

Abdul Khan

This landlord has been topping the list for quite some time now, along with another, Nathan Montgomery. Abdul Khan has been involved in horrible landlord stories for quite some time now, and in a 2020 article was in court with tenants in the Bronx over not having any gas for 13 months; instead residents were given hot plates. 1515 Selwyn Avenue additionally had 314 housing code violations, of which 132 were Class C, the most serious, representing immediate health risks to tenants. The same article lists another court case involving the foreclosure on a different one of Khan’s properties that was also enrolled in the city’s Alternative Enforcement Program (AEP). The DOB had also cited 67 open violations of the building code for the Selwyn property, one was for illegally allowing people to sleep in the basement and another was for a leaking boiler. This year, Khan has an average of 1,302 open housing violations across just 12 buildings – an outrageous amount. This NYC landlord has made the worst landlords list top few for far too long.

Nathaniel Montgomery

Nathan is another common name on the worst landlords list, and this is beginning to be monotonous. I don’t know about you, but this whole story gets my blood boiling; I feel filled with steamed outrage. Montgomery had an average of 1,192 open violations across his 17 buildings. At least he came down slightly from being in the number two position in 2019 with 1,581 violations. However, this is another all-too-familiar name in NYC as a horrible landlord. Nathan is a managing agent at the Northeast Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation (NEBHDCO).

Last but Not Least

Michael Niamonitakis is likely better known for his company, Meridian Properties. He has an average of 1,060 violations across his 10 buildings. David Blau is not far behind, with 1,050 open violations on average in just 5 buildings – making the severity of his record nearly twice that for each building, over Niamonitakis. These numbers are absolutely unacceptable!

I don’t understand why we even have these organizations who are supposed to enforce the violations. I give mad respect to Jumaane Williams, Letitia James and the work they’re doing in bringing this issue to the forefront of public awareness. The AEP has the right idea. It’s also been shared how NYC landlords almost never get arrested for things like illegal evictions, a common occurrence for residents in the City. It is against the law to use tactics such as shutting off utilities or changing locks without getting a court order first. Period.

So why are these landlords allowed special privilege when victims call the police for help? The NYPD is responsible for enforcing the eviction laws – so the next time an NYPD officer tells you there’s nothing they can do, politely ask them to check their Police Patrol Guide, and demand an arrest. We as the commonwealth citizens of NYC must commit to getting results, on the issues that we are most passionate about as a community. Is not every human being entitled to basic respect in their very home? These landlords have got to go. End of story.

Rochelle Harris is a passionate writer originally from Phoenix, AZ. who credits her success to integrity and determination. She has a great sense of humor, loves music and her family, and writes fiction and poetry in her spare time. She is excited about the New York experience and lifestyle! Follow Rochelle on Twitter at @LinguisticAnRky or get in touch at [email protected]