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NYC’s worst landlords cost taxpayers $300M annually

A new report by the Regional Plan Association outlines the cost of the city’s ‘bad landlords’

NYC landlords that accrue a large amount of building violations on their properties, and are known to try to evict tenants could be costing the city more than $300 million a year, a new report by the civic group Regional Plan Association has revealed.

The RPA defines bad landlords as those building owners who had at least 10 housing code violations and two eviction filings in NYC’s housing court, between 2013 and mid-2015. RPA found that a majority of the city’s landlords had fewer than 5 building violations on their properties, but a comparatively small group of landlords were the ones likely engaging in tenant harassment and neglecting their properties.

So while NYC only has a small group of bad landlords, their actions have an outsize impact on the city. Of the city’s 763,276 buildings with residential apartments, only 2 percent had bad landlords. However of the 232,000 eviction proceedings that took place in 2017, about half were in buildings owned by bad landlords

The brunt of this outsize impact is felt in the Bronx, according to the RPA. Of the one million people impacted by bad landlords, 43 percent live in the Bronx. This accounts for about a third of the borough’s population. Bronx residents are twice as likely as the rest of the city residents to have a bad landlord. Unsurprisingly, these landlords also have a major impact on low-income New Yorkers—29 percent of residents that live in buildings with bad landlords live below the poverty line.

These bad landlords also impact minorities the most. Of the one million residents affected by bad landlords, 88 percent are people of color, and 12.4 percent are people with disabilities.

These landlords also cost the city millions in tax payers’s money. The city often has to spend large sums of money to provide legal aid to tenants, cover housing court costs, carry out emergency repairs on buildings, provide more funds toward homeless shelters, etc.

“It’s alarming that a limited number of bad landlords generate such an enormous cost to the City and cause such lasting harm to tenants,” said Tom Wright, the president and CEO of the RPA, in a statement. “While the city’s recent expansion in legal aid and tenant protections are important steps forward, we must continue to keep this as a focus as we strive to preserve affordable housing in New York City.”

Check out RPA’s full report here.