LAS: Landlords Have Little Incentive to Repair Damaged Apartments

The Legal Aid Society is sounding the alarm over apartments that aren’t getting the repairs they need to be safe, as reported by CBS 2 New York. Some residents in Queens are still unable to return to their homes after damage from Hurricane Ida and landlords are unwilling to do the work necessary to ensure it’s safe to come back.

Sateesh Nori, Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society’s Queens neighborhood office, explained that landlords sometimes avoid making repairs because they risk incurring fines by exposing illegal work done to plumbing, electric, or gas. For this type of work to be completed legally, permits from the City are required.

“Sometimes, there’s nothing they can do. They’ll never get the permits … and the landlords have very little incentive to make these apartments more safe,” he said.

A pilot program by the City to help landlords legalize basement apartments, where flooding has taken an especially heavy toll, was in place but has since been defunded. Advocates worry this is only the beginning of a disturbing trend.

“It’s something we’re going to see a lot more of,” said Nori.