May 16, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY— New York City Council Members Ritchie Torres and Antonio Reynoso, with local tenants and advocates, introduced the Quality Housing Act on Wednesday May 14th. This new package of city legislation is designed to preserve affordable housing units around the city through stronger enforcement of the housing maintenance code and stiffer penalties for negligent landlords.
The bills will significantly strengthen how the Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development (HPD) acts to ensure that more repairs get made and that derelict building owners pay larger fines for severe housing code. If enacted, they will also help Mayor de Blasio achieve his goal of preserving 120,000 units of affordable housing across the five boroughs.
The Quality Housing Act would further penalize landlords who fail repeat inspections of the same violation- where the violation has not been certified as cured, and when multiple immediately hazardous violations of any kind found on the same property within one year. All unpaid fees will constitute a debt recoverable from the owner and lien on the property.
“The re-inspection fees bill I am introducing as part of the Quality Housing Act offers a simple solution that will have a sweeping impact on housing quality in New York City. By attaching fees to re-inspections of uncured violations, this legislation is giving every single tenant New York City a greater ability to get repairs in their apartments. This legislative package is a natural complement to Mayor de Blasio’s historic plan to preserve affordable housing,” said City Council Member Ritchie Torres.