NYC, Craigslist team up to out lazy landlords

April 4, 2011 3:27:15 PM PDT
Renters in New York City now have a leg up on lazy landlords as they peruse available apartments and houses on Craigslist.

"NYC's Worst Landlords Watchlist" names landlords with a history of poor repairs. The Craigslist link is part of New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio's plan to better inform tenants and hold landlords accountable for repairing rundown buildings.

"I'm so tired of living like this," said Rosanna Pena, a Kingsbridge, Bronx tenant.

She's tired because each day Rosanna Pena, a single mother of three, faces one challenge after another: rain water in her apartment, mold and mildew, busted doors and damaged ceilings.

"I'm taking medication right now, all the depression, anxiety I've been going through. I've been going to my doctors and I take medication too," Pena said.

Pena's hardships are not unique.

Thousands of other New Yorkers face the same troubles, if not worse.

That's why public advocate Bill de Blasio unveiled a plan to hold the city's worst landlords accountable for repairing their buildings.

The plan includes placing those landlords on the popular website Craigslist, so apartment hunters know who to avoid.

"And I think that's sending a powerful message to our landlords to get their acts together or its going to hit them again in their wallet," Public Advocate Bill de Blasio said.

de Blasio also wants legislation barring negligent landlords from receiving taxpayer dollars through rent programs like Section 8.

"I just want to get out, just want to get out. Don't like it no more. I shouldn't be living like this. I mean nobody should be living like this," said Brenda Serrano, a tenant.

"When it comes to dealing with their landlord, the tenants here told us persistence hasn't paid off.

Fines haven't done much.

Violations have had no impact.

That's why they have little hope this latest initiative will make any sort of difference.

"Because they just don't care," a tenant said.

That might be the biggest hurdle to overcome.