Conditions Still Bad at Buildings of Worst Bronx Landlords

The entrance to Rawle Isaacs’s building, located at 1892 Morris Avenue.

By Gabriella Amanini

Twenty-five of New York City’s worst landlords are in the Bronx. Between them, they own 67 buildings, according to the Public Advocate’s 100 Worst Landlords in New York City list. The Landlords Watchlist is a list of the 100 worst building owners who severely neglect tenants and their apartments. The tenants in these buildings constantly complain about a variety of things wrong in these buildings. Often, things don’t get fixed. This list is based on how many HPD (Department of Housing Preservation and Development) violations there are on each property a landlord owns.

Rawle Isaacs is a Bronx landlord who earned the second spot on the 100 Worst Landlords list in 2017. Isaacs owns a total of four buildings: three buildings on Morris Avenue, and one on Walton Avenue. At 1892 Morris Avenue there were 485 open violations in November 2017. Today there are 234. Some open violations at 1892 Morris Avenue are water leaks, and lack of heat and hot water.

Stairs at 1892 Morris Avenue

William Rivera, a tenant at 1892 Morris Avenue described the bad conditions. “He doesn’t keep up with the building, all he cares about is money. That’s it,” said Rivera, who added that there are rat, mice, and roach infestations, leaks, and the elevator frequently breaks down. The building is so unsafe, Rivera says, that his wife was almost sexually assaulted there. It wouldn’t have happened he argues, if there were security cameras.

Rivera says the building — especially its elderly tenants — need a new elevator. He described the landlord as a “deadbeat father” who does nothing for the tenants and building. He and other tenants have attempted to make a change in their apartments and building by contacting 311 numerous times. They have attended tenant meetings, called News 12 The Bronx and been the subject of newspaper articles. The super tries to keep up with the building, but he is so overwhelmed with all the violations and needs help. All this work is too much for one person to possibly handle, Rivera said. The landlord treats his workers badly, Rivera says. “A happy employee equals a happy tenant,” he says.

Thomas Steiner is a Bronx landlord who has claimed the third spot on the 100 Worst Landlord list. Steiner owns a total of four buildings. He has two on Stratford Avenue, one on Newbold Avenue and one on Castle Hill Avenue. Steiner currently has a total of 837 open housing code violations across his four buildings. These violations include a variety of different levels of seriousness, all violations mentioned in this article are level C – the most dangerous. Some of the violations at Stein buildings include lead paint usage throughout all his buildings. The paint used tested positive for lead content and is on a deteriorated subsurface or peeling. Numerous people filed complaints surrounding this issue from 2009 through 2010.

According to HPD records, his buildings have many defective and missing window guards which is dangerous for residents with young children. The tenants had no access to heat. There are defective locks and fire escapes, and there are leaks and splintering wood floors. These serious violations seem to occur throughout all his buildings based on the HPD data on open housing code violations.

Gil Broitman is another Bronx landlord who owns two buildings. In his building on 900 East 213 St there are four open violations. Three are the most serious: lack of hot water in the apartments, and an insufficient supply of gas and electric service. His other building at 1807 Phelan Place has a total of 341 violations. Throughout the residents’ apartments there is mold, leaks, defective surfaces, and no access to heat.

Stephen Tobia is another Bronx landlord who made the list in spot 76. He owns one building: 2356 Lorillard Place, which has a total of 19 open violations. Haille, a tenant in the building who declined to give her last name, described the worst problem in her apartment as rodents. Rodent infestations aren’t listed in the open violations data but appears to be a problem she manages. Haille claims when there is a problem the super comes to fix the issue and she likes where she lives despite the minor things occurring in her apartment.

Although there are problems Hailee considers minor, there are a few dangerous violations for other residents in the building. Some class C violations include missing or defective window guards, and a lead based paint hazard – paint that tested positive for lead content and that is on a deteriorated subsurface or peeling.

Although there are few violations for Tobia’s building, all the residents need to live in a safe environment. The 2017 rankings is based on the violations the building has over a 12 month period. Landlords can get off the Worst Landlords list when they fix the violations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *