Two Owners Jailed for Repeatedly Refusing Basic Repairs

Two owners are in jail after sentences were ordered by Housing Court judges. One Brooklyn owner was recently sentenced to jail on criminal and civil contempt charges after he repeatedly refused to make basic repairs. He will remain in jail up to six months or until the violations are corrected and he pays more than $382,000 in civil penalties — a sum that represents the fifth-largest sanction levied citywide last year. He received five days in jail and a separate fine for the criminal charge.

Tenants in his Brooklyn building experienced heat and hot water outages for weeks at a time over the past year. The owner unsuccessfully blocked city inspectors from trying to help, padlocking the basement door so workers couldn’t fix the boiler. In all, the city has spent $58,000 on emergency repairs, plus $7,100 on legal fees to hold him accountable.

Another owner in the Bronx was put in jail and is facing up to six months of jail time unless he makes more than $116,446 in fixes and pays $464,950 in penalties. As for the Bronx properties, the city said there are 144 open code violations at one building and 199 open code violations at another.

In most of the hundreds of cases handled each year, the buildings eventually get repaired and the owner pays a few thousand dollars. Only four city landlords including these two have been arrested since January 2013, according to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.