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NYC’s 100 worst landlords identified on 2017 watchlist

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See who made the Public Advocate’s annual list this time around

One of Jonathan Cohen’s properties in Brooklyn.
Joe Strini/PropertyShark

Each year, the Public Advocate’s office releases a list of what it calls the 100 worst landlords in New York City—intended, as explained by current PA Letitia James, to be “a powerful tool to put these unscrupulous landlords on notice and gives tenants the tools to hold them accountable.”

The 2017 list was released yesterday, and this year, landlord Jonathan Cohen of Silvershore Properties took the top spot. Cohen, who owns 18 buildings in Brooklyn and one in Queens, earned his rank by managing to rack up the most open violations relative to the number of buildings owned. (The full methodology is explained here.)

According to the watchlist, Cohen has an overwhelming 1,090 HPD violations and another 15 DOB violations across all 19 of his properties, which have a total of 188 units. Rawle Isaacs, who owns four buildings in the Bronx, came in second place with a staggering 969 open HPD violations; Thomas Steiner, who also owns four properties in the Bronx, came in third place with 843 HPD violations.

In addition to presenting the list in, well, list form, James’s office has also made it easy for curious renters to see which buildings are affected, and precisely how many violations have been recorded at each landlord’s property, via the dedicated Landlord Watchlist website.

“No New Yorker should be subjected to live in a hazardous home, yet bad landlords in our City are forcing too many tenants to live in dangerous and indecent conditions,” James said in a press release. “We will continue to identify the worst abusers of tenants and take on practices that deny working families a chance to simply live in safe, decent housing.”

Nine of the landlords on last year’s top 10 list have moved down in rank, meaning they are still among the worst but aren’t as bad as before. But bad landlord practices seem to be passed down among family traditions; Eric Silverstein, the son of the late Harry Silverstein—who took the top spot on last year’s list—ranks number five currently.