Housing Court Issues Warrant for Negligent Owner's Arrest

A Bronx County Housing Court judge issued a warrant for an owner's arrest on July 3, ordering him remanded until the violations at his apartment building are corrected. The owner has ignored the city’s requests to make dozens of repairs needed to fix up the building. This is not the first time the city has arrested a property owner for letting a building fall into disrepair. There have been four previous cases since 2006, including the arrest of three Brooklyn landlords in 2011.

“If you shirk those responsibilities and force your tenants to live in deplorable conditions we will use every available enforcement resource we have to bring you into compliance with the law,” Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua said in a statement. According to the agency, the four-unit building was considered a hazardous death trap with 30 open violations. In 2009, the building was designated as one of the 200 most distressed buildings in the city and enrolled in the Alternative Enforcement Program, an initiative intended to speed up repairs by giving the city special enforcement measures.

The owner ignored court orders and neglected the building for so long that the city was forced to step in, redo the roof, and repair the exterior of the building. The city also rewired the entire electrical system and replaced the heating plant. The negligent owner now faces $92,910 in fines along with jail time.