Bisnow Why $1.6B In Building Violations Sits Uncollected by Ryan Boysen

Bisnow
Bisnow
Why $1.6B In Building Violations Sits Uncollected
Ryan Boysen
03/28/2016

About $1.6B in quality-of-life violations from landlords around the city remain uncollected, according to a study by the Cooper Square Committee, a tenants’ rights organization. "The city issues quality-of-life violations when people violate construction safety rules, start construction before or after hours, or have dangerous sidewalk conditions—and nobody seems to care," Councilman Ben Kallos tells Crain’s. "Many landlords and developers treat [the fines] as a cost of doing business." The councilman is sponsoring a bill that could put a lien on buildings if a balance that’s large enough builds up, as can now be done with single-family homes. The bill comes amid a push for tougher regulation on the real estate and construction industries—especially where safety is involved. There were 433 construction accidents reported in the city last year, up from 231 in 2014, according to the New York Post. And in the wake of a deadly crane collapse in February, a quadrupling of construction fines issued by the Department of Buildings was announced. The department revoked at least one contractor’s license last year, one registered as MRMD NY Corp, for not paying fines. But the Department of Buildings doesn’t collect the fines it issues; that’s left to different regulators. Debts that haven’t been paid within a period of weeks after getting a hearing from the Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings, it goes to the Department of Finance and private collectors, which are given eight years to collect the money. [Crain’s]

 

Issue: 
Good Government