The city will no longer wait for rundown buildings to become unlivable before intervening, according to Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Buildings that have tallied a high number of emergency housing code violations over the past two years along with data that could include outstanding tax and water arrears, foreclosures and notices will be targeted for improvement by the city in a new Department of Housing Preservation and Development program.
“Too often, tenants don't make complaints until things have gone too far," Quinn said. "And that's understandable. Some of these tenants have lived in buildings where they have every reason to have lost faith in the system. We won’t wait for complaints anymore.”
At a press conference with Mayor Bloomberg in the Bronx Thursday, Speaker Quinn said she'll also seek to change the law so the city can sell liens that are placed on properties when landlords fail to make repairs.
The initiative grew out of a pilot program in which surveys and inspections on 108 buildings resulted in 4,100 new violations and 11 referrals to lawsuits. Officials hope to identify 500 distressed buildings over the next 12 months and put them “on a path to stability” through the new “Proactive Preservation Initiative.”