The city's public advocate is trying to put pressure on negligent landlords who fail to provide heat and hot water to their tenants. Bill de Blasio said that last year, New Yorkers called in more than 114,000 complaints. "Many of those indicate a situation that goes on for days or weeks or more," de Blasio said. "It's just not acceptable in a city like this to have so many New Yorkers facing this problem." Complaints were scattered throughout the city, but the highest number came from the Bronx and Brooklyn.
De Blasio said under current city law, landlords can take advantage of a loophole that resets fines for offenders at the beginning of each year. "A landlord could have had numerous instances of not providing heat and hot water and they get to the end of the calendar year, and suddenly the fine level drops back down in the new year to a lower level," he said.
De Blasio's introduced a bill, known as the H.E.A.T. Act, to close that loophole. He's also supporting a bill in Albany, sponsored by State Sen. Liz Krueger, that would create mandatory fines for negligent landlords. According to the public advocate's office, first-time offenders are fined $500 per unit, per day for failing to provide heat or hot water.
The public advocate's office has also created an online tool for New Yorkers to track negligent landlords throughout the city. Click here to view the public advocate's Worst Landlords Watch List.