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Queens Chronicle

Bad Jamaica building is off the ‘worst’ list

Landlord cuts violations in half, but tenants say problems remain

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Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 1:03 pm, Thu Jan 19, 2012.

A violations-racked Jamaica apartment building, which had the dubious distinction of landing on the public advocate’s Worst Landlords List, has now fallen off the shame roster, the first in Queens to do so.

The tenants who live at 88-22 Parsons Blvd. had long complained that the building’s owner, New York Affordable Housing Associates, failed to make basic repairs and provide adequate heat during the winter months.

In addition, a sewer back-up last February left occupants without clean, running water for weeks, until the city stepped in to make repairs.

At one point, the 36-unit building had 144 violations, according to Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s office, but that has dropped by 74 infractions, and it was removed from the “worst” list in November.

“It’s off the worst list, but we have a pretty high threshold,” Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for de Blasio, said. “It’s not ‘Extreme Home Makeover,’ but at least there’s no more sewage.”

Amy Anderson, a lifelong tenant of the building, has noticed little improvement and had a laundry list of complaints including: rotting fire escapes; periods with no heat; tenant harassment; a leaking roof; roaches; a homeless man living illegally in the boarded-up, non-functioning laundry room for two months; the lack of a sprinkler system and boarded-up basement windows.

“From where I’m sitting, I don’t think it’s getting any better, but that’s just my opinion,” Anderson said. “I don’t think it’s changed.”

New York Affordable Housing Associates did not respond to requests for comment.

Anderson is not the only one who hasn’t noticed a change. Sergio Gonzales, who has lived in the building for 38 years, also had complaints. He claims repairs are not made correctly and in a timely fashion and that the property, especially the alleyways, is dirty.

“They get outside people, sh**ty people doing the repairs,” Gonzales said. “They want to save money, so they get the cheap labor.”

Gonzales said that over the past week repairmen came to fix his leaking toilet repeatedly but failed, his windows have been broken for months, and while he was on vacation in Colombia over the summer, someone cut his television antenna.

John Alba, the building’s super, disagrees with Anderson and Gonzales. He said there have been numerous improvements and there will be more.

“We are going green with the building,” Alba said. “We are insulating all the doors, entranceways and windows. We’re changing the showerheads to save water and changing the lightbulbs to save energy. We are doing a lot of things in this building. We have made a lot of repairs, and we’re still striving to clear up the rest of the violations.”

De Blasio’s worst list was created in 2010 in an effort to publicly shame negligent property owners into making repairs. The list presently has 317 entries citywide — buildings with at least two hazardous housing code violations per unit, such as lack of heat or hot water, lead paint, toxic mold or broken plumbing.

The two worst buildings in the borough are 107-04 150 St. in Jamaica, with 209 violations, and 89-06 138 St. in Jamaica, with 135 violations. Both are owned by Allen Affordable Housing Development, a subsidiary of the Greater Allen Development Corp., headed by the Rev. Floyd Flake, the former congressman.

The others are 1821 Cornelia St. in Ridgewood, with 101 violations and owned by Roseman Beerman & Beerman LLP; 307 Beach 70 St. in Arverne, with 92 violations, and owned by Gowrie Seegulam; and 106-19 177 St. in Jamaica with 91 violations, and owned by Diana Alleyne.

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