Yonkers Mayor Spano & Councilwoman Corazon Pineda-Isaac Introduce Legislation Targeting Negligent Landlords
YONKERS, NY – January 8, 2019 – Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano, along with Yonkers City Councilwoman Corazon Pineda-Isaac, today announced their plans to propose legislation to the Yonkers City Council addressing negligent landlords whose buildings are condemned after numerous building code violations affecting the safety and well-being of its tenants. The local law would amend the “Unsafe Buildings and Dangerous Structures” city code by adding a subsection mandating the costs and expenses of relocating tenants incurred by the City of Yonkers to be reimbursed by the building owner.
“After numerous condemnations of multi-family homes in Yonkers due to landlords not providing safe and secure buildings to their tenants, it became very evident that the city needs to hold these landlords more accountable for their negligence,” said Mayor Spano. “Many times after a building is deemed unsafe, residents often are displaced with limited options for alternative shelter. Deadbeat landlords typically don’t pay to provide other housing for their tenants, leaving the City to incur emergency costs to ensure our residents have a warm place to stay. I thank Councilwoman Pineda-Isaac for working with us in determining ways to ensure Yonkers taxpayers are no longer taken advantage of and that these negligent landlords take financial responsibility for their tenants.”
According to the proposed legislation, should the condition of a building rise to the need for relocation of its residents as a result of negligent or intentional acts of the building owner and the City of Yonkers incurs expenses to house and feed the tenants, the landlord must reimburse costs incurred by the city. Expenses under this local law would include but not be limited to departmental costs, overtime, temporary security, moving expenses or other reasonable allowances given to induce tenants to relocate voluntarily. Additionally, the City of Yonkers may bring action against the owner for recovery of such expenses.
“Landlords have to be held accountable for their action, or in this case, inaction,” said Councilwoman Corazon Pineda-Isaac. “Tenants should feel secure, and live in conditions that are adequate without any fear of being displaced from their homes. Tenants should not be inconvenienced because of circumstances that occur through no fault of their own. In light of recent events, we have to enforce our laws and protect Yonkers residents that much more. In addition to this proposed legislation, we will also work to strengthen the registry the City created to keep track of negligent landlords. We will work to make sure that the registry is up-to-date and that there are repercussions for those negligent landlords who consistently make the list.”
Since November 2018, the Yonkers Department of Housing and Buildings has condemned seven multi-unit homes and two, two-family homes, displacing dozens of families. Typically, the City relocates displaced tenants to the Yonkers PAL for temporary housing. On average, the City of Yonkers expends more than $10,000 of taxpayer dollars for every 20 people per 24 hours displaced.
The proposed legislation is to be voted on by the Yonkers City Council in the coming weeks.