From the Daily News:
The Department of Housing Preservation and Development has spent $33 million on an “alternative enforcement program” that was designed to crack down on the slumlord owners of the most rundown tenements.
Under the plan, the city identifies 200 buildings a year that have a high number of violations and orders landlords to make repairs within four months or face penalties. If the owner balks, the city does the repairs and bills for the work.
At the program’s inception, then-commissioner Shaun Donovan, who is now President Obama’s housing chief, vowed the city would “not tolerate unsafe conditions for tenants.” His agency promised to commit enough inspectors to “ongoing monitoring” to make sure buildings “don’t fall back into disrepair.”
Often, that’s exactly what happened.
In the campaign’s first two years, the department targeted 400 buildings totaling more than 1,200 apartments. Nearly half — 45% — are still in the program because they still have a high number of serious violations or failed to repay the city for repairs.
In addition, the city has recovered from landlords only $10 million of the $23 million spent on repairs even as the cost of renovations rose from $3 million in fiscal 2008 to $11 million in fiscal 2010, according to the city’s Independent Budget Office.