De Blasio: Crown Hts Building Has Most Violations in NYC


The Daily News reports that Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s office has published its third annual list of the worst apartment buildings and landlords in the city and, according to the ranking, the building with the most violations is in Brooklyn. A 40-unit building at 245 Sullivan Place in Crown Heights has 654 open violations, according to the article, much more than any other in the five boroughs. Here’s the story’s characterization of the state 245 Sullivan is in: “Tenants at the 40-unit complex say they’re sharing their homes with roaches and rats, and struggling to live with crumbling ceilings and exposed wiring. Some apartments lack either electricity, hot water or heat, or a mix of all three.” Tenants say the landlord, who is elderly, hasn’t made repairs in two years. The public advocate’s ranking, which is supposed “to shame landlords into improving conditions,” covers 358 buildings. According to the list’s official website, the building in the city with the second most number of violations is also in Brooklyn: 534 Pennsylvania Avenue, a 32-unit building in East New York, has 485 open violations.
Nightmare Building: 245 Sullivan Place in Crown Heights [NY Daily News]
NYC’s Worst Landlords [Official Site]
Photo via Property Shark

60 Comment

  • If the LL is elderly and can’t do the repairs, he should then retire and sell the building to someone that can take care of it.

    Also, the tenants can seal up cracks and holes in their own apartments to avoid rodents and roaches, it isn’t that hard. I wouldn’t wait for someone else to do it. I would just do it myself.
    Tenants can also paint their own apartments, homeowners do it all the time. I mean really, you are the one living their, you can do something.

    As far as wiring and really severe stuff that a tenant cannot, or even should do, isn’t this what the DOB is for, yet all these violations and yet nothing……I am assuming the tenants are holding their rent payments back.

    • Stargazer,

      The tenants can not paint their own apartments. It is would be ameliorating waste and the tenants could be responsible for damages.

      • i don’t think the owner of a rent stabilized building like this would mind if the tenants went in their own pockets to paint. i wouldn’t paint those apartments either if the tenants were paying $500/mo.

      • Why can’t they paint their own apartments? What is the big deal? They are the ones living there. What damages are possibly caused by painting??

        Most times I am all for the tenant, but just because a tenant lives in an RS apartment, they really shouldn’t expect the LL to paint for them. They are the ones living there, buy the paint and paint it yourself. Don’t be so cheap and lazy.

        What I don’t get is why should the LL have to paint for a tenant? What would make a tenant entitled to a paint job??…..Does the bank pay for paint for a homeowner when the mortgage is still not paid, because technically the bank still owns the house.

        I just really have a problem with the painting tenant thing… from reading so much on theis subject I am starting to agree to get rid of RS and RC apartments…..for some reason the tenants have a big sense of entitlement because of this….

      • Why can’t they paint their own apartments? What is the big deal? They are the ones living there. What damages are possibly caused by painting??

        Most times I am all for the tenant, but just because a tenant lives in an RS apartment, they really shouldn’t expect the LL to paint for them. They are the ones living there, buy the paint and paint it yourself. Don’t be so cheap and lazy.

        What I don’t get is why should the LL have to paint for a tenant? What would make a tenant entitled to a paint job??…..Does the bank pay for paint for a homeowner when the mortgage is still not paid, because technically the bank still owns the house.

        I just really have a problem with the painting tenant thing… from reading so much on theis subject I am starting to agree to get rid of RS and RC apartments…..for some reason the tenants have a big sense of entitlement because of this….

        • Speaking of entitlement, most of the names on the “Worst Landlord List” belong to a specific group of people. Therein lies the roots of “entitlement” you speak of.
          In the 70s-80s this group of building owners let their buildings go into ruin purposely because they didn’t want to pay the property taxes. NYC wouldn’t let them collect millions of dollars in payments for run down buildings while overcharging tenants for rent. They burned down most of the buildings and blamed it on the tenants. That is landlord entitlement. Plain and simple. Collecting rent w/o upkeep of the property.
          This person (or his family) is probably trying to cash in on boom hoping the people will just move out so it can become a “luxury condo”
          Some of the comments are downright savage. There is nothing naive about them. Just brute, savage, capitalist (money-changers) at work.

  • yeah, there’s a lot of things tenants CAN do, but it’s not their responsibility. it’s the landlords JOB to do those things. if i don’t do my job i get fired.

    agree 100% that if a landlord does not want to take on the responsibility of what being a landlord entails, they should sell. i think you’re giving them the benefit of the doubt about being elderly and not physically capable.

  • This is a perfect example of the problems with the RS system. You get what you pay for.

  • Skimming the comments quickly, I turned “pay” into “day” and thought Dave was saying today was a perfect day (folks home from work, slow day in the office) for another idiotic thread about rent stabilization.

    Rent stabilized tenants don’t have “a (sic) awful sense of entitlement, unbelieveable;” they are entitled to what the law provides, which in the case of painting, is once every three years.

    Don’t want to play by the rules? Don’t buy a rent regulated apartment building. Can’t make the numbers work? Guess you shouldn’t have over-paid. It’s the debt service on an excessive purchase price that is killing you, not the rent roll–you knew what the rent roll was when you made the offer.

  • This article is about “gaping holes” in ceilings, rat infestation, lack of electricity and heat in the winter, and “urine soaked hallways”. No entitlement, nothing about wanting their LL to paint. What they seem to lack is an apartment that’s safe to live in. I would assume most of these tenants can’t afford to make repairs themselves.

    • i doubt the landlord is the one urinating in the hallways, leaving food out or making holes in the walls. these people sound like animals.

      • Animals? Really? Do you really believe that, or are you just a troll? When front doors are not secure, outsiders come in and destroy the hallways. When roofs are not fixed, or plumbing repaired, holes form in walls. And, David from Philadelphia who lives in Bed-Stuy, when poor families leave their rent stabilized apartments landlords have succeeded in unjustly enriching themselves.

        • “Animals? Really?”

          Yes, disgusting animals that squalor in their own filth and pity.

          I have never heard of someone entering an unsecured building to find a place to pee in a hallway. But I could imagine that type of person would just go anywhere (i.e. in between a parked car, next to a tree, in a corner). It is most likely the tenants and/or their “animal” guests.

          • I have never heard of someone entering an unsecured building to find a place to pee in a hallway.

            OMG, every time I am outside I hunt around for the unlocked buildings so I can take a pee.

            gee, you mean all this time I could have of pee’d between 2 parked cars, behind a garbage dumpster, up against a tree, behind a building….

            shheeesh, and all this time I was peeing in peoples buildings for nothing.

            will wonders never cease

          • I have a feeling the things you haven’t heard of far outweigh your area of knowledge. That’s fine, but don’t feel you have to opine on things you clearly know nothing about.
            All you are sharing are the ugly prejudices at the bottom of your reptilian brain: TMI.

      • Animals? Really? Do you really believe that, or are you just a troll? When front doors are not secure, outsiders come in and destroy the hallways. When roofs are not fixed, or plumbing repaired, holes form in walls. And, David from Philadelphia who lives in Bed-Stuy, when poor families leave their rent stabilized apartments landlords have succeeded in unjustly enriching themselves.

      • agreed.

        the scenario sounds so awful, but think about it ligically…
        how did the holes get there, why is this building filled with vermin.
        how can some apartments have heat hot water, electricity and others don’t????/ I am bewildered on that one…

  • This article is about “gaping holes” in ceilings, rat infestation, lack of electricity and heat in the winter, and “urine soaked hallways”. No entitlement, nothing about wanting their LL to paint. What they seem to lack is an apartment that’s safe to live in. I would assume most of these tenants can’t afford to make repairs themselves.

  • Stargazer, these posts of yours say a whole lot about your choice of handle. You are definitely gazing at stars if you think the main point of this story is all about sealing cracks and painting. The real issues here are lack of electricity, lack of heat and running water — except for the leaking roof, that is Apparently many apartments have major holes in the walls, leading to exposed wiring, vermin running rampant and such. (Those are conditions which call for more than the sealing of cracks.) The only one who is obviously cheap and lazy in this story is the landlord who has completely abandoned the building, while grabbing rents, not making any repairs, and leaving 40 households in the lurch. Talk about an attitude of entitlement!

  • The landlord of this building sounds like a real schmuck…

  • You know what??? After a year or so of this, you’d think the tenants would move somewhere else, like normal people would. Yes, most all of it is the owner’s fault but the reality is that these are the conditions of many, many RS buildings.

    The electricity and heat and water issues are inexcusable but, like others have said, peeling plaster, paint, roaches and mice are well within the tenants means of remedying.

    • Seriously, dibs, can you be that naïve – many people in RS apartments can’t move anywhere else because they can’t afford the upfront costs (at least first month’s rent in advance plus a one month security deposit), the rent they’d be charged in a new place, or don’t have adequate credit and income to qualify for another apartment – or all three. People don’t stay in places like this because they want to but because they have no other choice.

  • There’s a lot of naivete here, not the least of which is this:

    “The public advocate’s ranking, which is supposed “to shame landlords into improving conditions,”

  • unjustly, Putnam??? The law is the law on these and when someone leaves, the rent can go up.

    And I’m not “from” Philadelphia.

  • “People don’t stay in places like this because they want to but because they have no other choice. ”

    I certainly do understand it. That’s still no excuse for letting their own unit fall into such a state of decay(most likely because they’ve been there 20 years) because they would never lift a finger to better their own situation.

    • Service people like electricians and contractors generally require payment with a deposit upfront and the balance on completion of the work, and many people simply can’t afford that. However, I thought that after a certain time following the report of a violation the City was supposed to step in and complete the work, billing the landlord. Considering that many of these violations have been there for years without being corrected I wonder why the City isn’t doing its job.

    • Service people like electricians and contractors generally require payment with a deposit upfront and the balance on completion of the work, and many people simply can’t afford that. However, I thought that after a certain time following the report of a violation the City was supposed to step in and complete the work, billing the landlord. Considering that many of these violations have been there for years without being corrected I wonder why the City isn’t doing its job.

  • Once again 150 Lefferts Ave in PLG makes the list, with 22 new violations from last year. The building on Rogers Ave, however, is no longer on it, so some progress is being made.

  • Maybe the landlord is in a nursing home and has dementia. Who knows.

  • Maybe the landlord is in a nursing home and has dementia. Who knows.

  • In this season of giving you’d think that many people on this thread would believe that giving a lump of coal to the poor would be an overly generous act.

  • In this season of giving you’d think that many people on this thread would believe that giving a lump of coal to the poor would be an overly generous act.

  • You’ve never heard of people entering unsecured buildings to drink and smoke weed on rooftops? Really?

  • Remember back in the day on Brownstoner when this topic would have actually resulted in an intelligent discussion amongst informed posters compared to the retard echo chamber it’s become?

  • Remember back in the day on Brownstoner when this topic would have actually resulted in an intelligent discussion amongst informed posters compared to the retard echo chamber it’s become?

  • Boy, who said Scrooge was fiction? Some of you people are just amazingly unsympathetic to your fellow man.

    I could go point by point, but why bother? You are so self-righteous in your “knowledge” that the tenants are “animals”, when you really don’t even have a clue to where the building is, let alone who lives in it.

    You are also so sure that the people there are scum that don’t take care of their own homes, because that feeds into that whole mentality that says that the poor have become “entitled”. Yeah, being poor is gangs of fun.

    It never dawned on anyone that an open building is used by junkies, and any other number of actual undesireable people who have no problem relieving themselves in other people’s hallways, or wrecking someone else’s property. But no, convince yourself that it’s the tenant’s fault. All of ‘em, I’m sure.

    And the worse, is the old notion that if you don’t like it, move. Obviously spoken by people who have never been without means for a minute in their lives. Most of these people can’t afford to move. If they were better off, they wouldn’t be living in a crappy building in the first place. Even if one is able to borrow a vehicle, or get friends to use their van to help you move, it still costs at least 2 months rent, plus inevitable moving expenses to move, assuming you can find a place that’s not a craphole equally as bad as this one, for the pittance you can afford to pay. That’s a lot of money for people on extremely limited income. Hell, it’s a lot of money for me.

    Not to mention possibly having to change schools, or possible increase to your commute to work, a change in house of worship, shopping, friends and relatives, caregivers, etc, etc. Just because one is poor in income doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable lives that are equally deserving of consideration, just like everyone else.

  • The owner is 92. Where’s the legal process to manage this building??? This is all part of the mess called “rent stabilization.” It doesn’t work and this is clear evidence that it doesn’t.

    He may have not been able to take care of it for the last 15 years. Who knows? But, if that has been the case, let’s look at two hypothtical but surely possible scenarios…

    1. Someone moves in over the last few years after the violations have been building. Buyer beware. You get what you deserve for not having discovered this.

    2. Someone who’s been here 20+ years. Ummmm after the situation changed and it was clear that there was indeed no management and no response to complaints, a normal human being would have taken it upon himself or herself to start taking better care of the place if they wanted it to remain livable.

    How about tenants getting together to try and manage through some of the issues themselves. Would that be too hard??? Really????

    • I have to agree with this also. Instead of just living like that the tenants obviously chose to do nothing.

      they should have taken their rents to fix the problems or called a local TV station to exploit the LL, something.

      I know when we dont have hot water, and it happens in an apartment building from time to time, i am right on the phone. I want to know if there is a clog in the boiler, a broken switch, i want to know. then we get it fixed. i dont wait around for 2 years.

      who does that?

    • I have to agree with this also. Instead of just living like that the tenants obviously chose to do nothing.

      they should have taken their rents to fix the problems or called a local TV station to exploit the LL, something.

      I know when we dont have hot water, and it happens in an apartment building from time to time, i am right on the phone. I want to know if there is a clog in the boiler, a broken switch, i want to know. then we get it fixed. i dont wait around for 2 years.

      who does that?

  • The owner is 92. Where’s the legal process to manage this building??? This is all part of the mess called “rent stabilization.” It doesn’t work and this is clear evidence that it doesn’t.

    He may have not been able to take care of it for the last 15 years. Who knows? But, if that has been the case, let’s look at two hypothtical but surely possible scenarios…

    1. Someone moves in over the last few years after the violations have been building. Buyer beware. You get what you deserve for not having discovered this.

    2. Someone who’s been here 20+ years. Ummmm after the situation changed and it was clear that there was indeed no management and no response to complaints, a normal human being would have taken it upon himself or herself to start taking better care of the place if they wanted it to remain livable.

    How about tenants getting together to try and manage through some of the issues themselves. Would that be too hard??? Really????

  • Sounds like its time for the owner to take a trip to the glue factory then, dibs

  • A simple power of attorney would suffice.

  • A simple power of attorney would suffice.

  • Stargazer, I’m so glad everything in this situation is SO “obvious”. You know nothing other than what is written in the article, but you are going to assume that the tenants are animals at worst, and lazy, uncaring bastards at best, because they don’t take it upon themselves to be their own landlords. Running a large apartment building is not like changing the decor in your living room. It’s not something you just “do”, and everything is hunky-dory. There are issues of legality and liability involved, not to mention just plain common sense and know-how. Most people don’t know where the water comes into their homes, but it’s just fine for renters to take it upon themselves to fix major issues in their building, because they are getting such a great deal on rent.

    Fine for you to be able to call when something goes wrong. And the management took care of it. Well, the tenants of this building called their landlord when something went wrong, too. He did nothing. That’s the tenant’s fault?

  • Stargazer, I’m so glad everything in this situation is SO “obvious”. You know nothing other than what is written in the article, but you are going to assume that the tenants are animals at worst, and lazy, uncaring bastards at best, because they don’t take it upon themselves to be their own landlords. Running a large apartment building is not like changing the decor in your living room. It’s not something you just “do”, and everything is hunky-dory. There are issues of legality and liability involved, not to mention just plain common sense and know-how. Most people don’t know where the water comes into their homes, but it’s just fine for renters to take it upon themselves to fix major issues in their building, because they are getting such a great deal on rent.

    Fine for you to be able to call when something goes wrong. And the management took care of it. Well, the tenants of this building called their landlord when something went wrong, too. He did nothing. That’s the tenant’s fault?

  • I am utterly opposed to RS and RC (in part because it leads to the situations the article described) but I don’t think the tenants should be blamed for not fixing their apartments. And it’s not just because they aren’t legally required to, it’s because if they haven’t, I’m going to assume they can’t. Some simply won’t have the wherewithal to have any idea how to go about it and, more likely, they can’t afford to. Especially with the current state of the economy and all the focus on continuing unemployment and those struggling, I’m surprised people here think tenants could easily afford to repair their apartments but just won’t because they feel so “entitled”. Even if there are some like that, is some elderly tenant living on social security and barely able to get by, going to spend even what may seem like little to some of us on a few gallons of paint? What if that’s their food money? I’m unsympathetic to many complaints of RS tenants, but not at this level.

    To me, the majority of comments in this thread epitomizes the distance between the haves and havenots getting so much attention these days.

  • Sad story but at what point does city force the issue? The owners owe the city $400K in taxes and fees since 2008. The DOB has been making repairs to the building over that time.

  • I agree with DeLepp here. Why can’t the city take action??? It doesn’t take rocket scientists to figure these situations out…auction the building off and make sure the conditions of purchase include remedies to all of the violations. I suspect that most city beauracrats can never think beyond their day-to-day jobs.

  • And one last shot – tenants are living in this building because they legally filled the RC/RS criteria to do so. They aren’t ripping anyone off for playing by the rules.The city has a rent control program, these people applied, met the criteria, and moved in. Now if that was 30 years ago, and they are now paying way, way, below market rate for their apartments, that’s just the breaks, and lucky them. They are also now senior citizens with little income, or income potential, if they had much to begin with, and deserve to live in a decent building, with heat, hot water, and intact walls, ceilings and floors, and no insects and critters. Everyone deserves that.

  • the building is part of the AEP (alternative enforcement program). basically the city is their landlord now.

    HPD has also put $2MM (yes, more than the building is worth) in mortgages against the building. when HPD forecloses on the building who does this benefit?! not the tenants. not the owner. not his heirs. however, the future owners who will be given an extreme discount through HPD with low interest loans, tax abatements and guess what.. by then the building will have half the number of regulated tenants.

  • Maybe the landlord is incapacitated and “management” is taking advantage. That’s typical of the management class, many of whom seem to feel they’re entitled and often blame external factors, such as rent control, rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.

  • I had to stop reading these responses, because apparently it’s now fine and dandy for the disenfranchised, the elderly and the working poor to live in calcutta-like conditions. After all, they are just lazy for not fixing broken plumbing, rewiring their own buildings, etc! They’re just animals!

    Great community you have now, Mr. B. WTF.

  • And maybe the landlord is not incapacitated. Perhaps he’s merely a garden-variety slumlord. These problems did not arise overnight and he’s been collecting rents for a good number of years.Perhaps he’s calculated that he can get rid of these “freeloading” tenants, renovate the building, and collect huge rents. Perhaps the city should go more often for house arrest in a really bad apartment in the building for the more uncooperative owners. Ninety-two or not, I’m sure confinement to one of these ratholes would have greater impact than mere shame.

  • Rent-Stabilized apts are entitled, yes, entitled to paint job every few years – that’s the law. Just as homeowners are entitled, yes, entitled to take a mortgage interest deduction every year. Using RS as an excuse for an incompetent LL is a insult to common decency, including other RS LL’s who do the right thing.

  • Rent-Stabilized apts are entitled, yes, entitled to paint job every few years – that’s the law. Just as homeowners are entitled, yes, entitled to take a mortgage interest deduction every year. Using RS as an excuse for an incompetent LL is a insult to common decency, including other RS LL’s who do the right thing.