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The City: Housing Agency Ignores Law Requiring Public Disclosure of NYCHA Code Violations

As of January 2023, the State has mandated for the City to detail in an online portal any housing problems and code violations in NYCHA buildings, but they have failed to do so. NYLAG’s Jonathan Fox spoke to The City about NYLAG’s demand letter calling out the Department of Housing Prevention and Development on this issue. 

Most New York City tenants can easily check if their landlord is violating the housing. code by searching the city housing department’s online portal…Not so for the city’s 400,000 public housing residents, whose code violation histories remain invisible. 

“This week the New York Legal Assistance Group called out the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) on the omission, noting that NYCHA’s code violations records were supposed to go up on the HPD Online public search website eight months ago. 

“In a letter sent Tuesday to HPD Commissioner Adolfo Carrion, NYLAG director Jonathan Fox pointed out that Albany changed the administrative code last year to require, for the first time, that NYCHA violations be listed on HPD’s website, just as with any other residential property in the city with more than three units. 

“The law officially went into effect Jan. 1. Yet a search for a NYCHA address at HPD Online still nets no information. Instead, visitors get this response: ‘This property is under the jurisdiction of the New York City Housing Authority.’ 

“’Despite this clear obligation, and despite the fact that this provision has been in effect for nearly eight months, HPD is categorically failing to meet these obligations,’ Fox wrote, asserting that the agency’s inaction ‘directly harms NYCHA residents and their advocates by impeding NYCHA tenants and their advocates’ efforts to identify trends and patterns in violations and organize collectively to address common systemic issues in NYCHA developments.’  

“In an interview with THE CITY Friday, Fox said, ‘The legislative intent was very clear and they basically just decided to just not do it. In a certain sense, it serves the interests of both agencies to basically not be able to comply with the law. HPD doesn’t have to keep track of this stuff and NYCHA doesn’t have to look bad’… 

“The lack of transparency about NYCHA’s living conditions has long been an issue for the nation’s biggest public housing authority.” 

Read the full piece by Greg B. Smith in The City from August 25, 2023 

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