Protecting Tenants From Unscrupulous Landlords

Public Advocate Letitia James released her annual list this week of city landlords with the largest amount of violations—and two landlords with properties in Queens made the top 10, while buildings in Jamaica and Flushing ranked as the worst in the borough.

The Worst Landlords Watchlist, which was founded in 2010 by Bill de Blasio during his stint as public advocate, scores each landlord across the city based on 12 data points collected during the course of the year. Each month, the list is updated to reflect changes in open violations.

Two landlords—Silvershore Properties’ Jonathan Cohen and Meir Fried, both of whom own properties in Ridgewood—were listed among the city’s top 10 worst, while Jamaica’s Hillside House Management Co.’s site on 165th Street was ranked as having the most violations in the borough, with Nada Gracin’s property on Sanford Avenue in Flushing coming in second.

To be fair, Silvershore noted that it frequently purchases other properties from previous owners who neglected them and had a large number of violations that could not be removed until an inspection was completed.

But James is correct in her assertion that no one in the five boroughs “should be subjected to live in a hazardous home.” This past year in Queens has seen one story after the next regarding unscrupulous landlords—from a building that houses a religious institution in Astoria allegedly harassing tenants in an attempt to force them out to a Sunnyside landlord who adorned the hallway of his building with pictures of Adolph Hitler and Confederate insignia.

Most of the landlords on James’ list were selected for violations—and not racist imagery or outright harassment—but their lack of providing a safe place to live for their tenants is unacceptable. We hope that the city continues to crack down on landlords who flagrantly violate the law and force their tenants to live in dangerous conditions.

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