Landlords Owe NYC $1.5 Billion for Building Code Violations

Violations of the building code go unenforced in New York City.
September 7, 2018, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Sean Pavone

Joe Anuta reports:

In April of 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed three bills that were designed to help the city collect $1.6 billion in outstanding fines for everything from building code infractions to tickets from the sanitation department. But the latest figures indicate that the value of the city's claim has barely changed.

Earlier in the week, fines owed by landlords made related news, when the Associated Press reported that Kushner Cos. owe around $500,000 for building code violations, most of which the company racked up while President Trump's son-in-law was running the company.

Despite the celebrity associated with those fines, the city's problem is much, much larger.

"The city struggles to collect fines for several reasons," according to Anuta. "But in general, scofflaws have little incentive to cough up the cash. Most of the violations are issued by the city's Department of Buildings to landlords and developers who typically own property through limited-liability companies and treat the fines as part of doing business. Owners can typically continue to obtain permits for work from the city regardless of their balance, and the statute of limitations on the fines expires after eight years."

Compared to landlord Steve Croman, who owes $1 million in fines, Kushner Cos. isn't even the worst offender.

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 in Crain's New York Business
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