- Stronger Communities
- Economic Growth
Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of the City of New York
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
I am writing to urge the City to take into account a landlord or building owner’s history of housing code violations when entering into lease agreements or lease renewals. In an effort to improve the living conditions of tenants across the City, the Public Advocate’s Office has created a list of landlords responsible for residential buildings with numerous building maintenance code violations as identified by the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”). The purpose of this list is to raise public awareness about and encourage landlords to remedy hazardous building code violations.
It has come to my attention that David Bistricer, a principal owner of Berkshire Equity, LLC leases over $200 million in office space to the City of New York. Mr. Bistricer is also a principal owner of the Flatbush Gardens complex, a 59 building development of residential multiple- family dwellings in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn. According to HPD, the buildings in the Flatbush Gardens Complex have accumulated thousands of housing code violations. Since November 2005, HPD has taken action to repair imminently hazardous conditions through its Emergency Repair Program after Mr. Bistricer failed to make the necessary repairs. Moreover, between 2007 and 2010, Mr. Bistricer’s number of serious housing maintenance code violations has increased significantly.
My office is in contact with the building's ownership to monitor their efforts to resolve outstanding violations and to help in any way possible, and it is our hope and goal that the buildings in Flatbush Gardens will be improved soon. However, I am concerned that if improvements are not made in a timely manner, the City will be conducting business worth millions of dollars with a landlord whose properties are in disrepair.
As the City’s leases in properties owned by Berkshire Equity expire, I urge you to consider what steps the City, as a commercial tenant of a considerable size, might take to improve conditions for residential tenants of Flatbush Gardens. Steps might include anything from rendering future lease renewals contingent upon significant demonstrated efforts to improve conditions to refusing to renew leases.
Further, I recommend that as the City considers its property leases going forward, the City evaluate a potential landlord’s other holdings to identify and respond appropriately to landlords that are responsible for hazardous conditions in residential or other commercial properties.
If you have any questions, please contact me or Emma Wolfe, my chief of staff. Thank you in advance for your timely response to this letter.
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York
Cc: Rafael Cestero, Commissioner
Department of Housing and Preservation Development