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The Landlord Watchlist is out: is yours one of the city's worst?

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How much total do you plan to tip the building staff this year?

There are crummy landlords and then there are those that are so bad, they're awarded the dubious distinction of a spot on Public Advocate Letitia James’ Landlord Watchlist, a catalog of building owners with the worst violation records (think lack of heat and hot water, inadequate fire exits, rodents, etc.) in New York City.

The Village Voice has a ranking of the five worst offenders, based on number of violations, and you can browse the full list here. (Bonus: the Watchlist website is also a great resource for information on tenants' rights and landlords' responsibilities.)

Better yet, avoid getting into a bad landlord situation altogether by doing your due diligence before signing a lease:

  • You can start by checking out a landlord or management company’s social media profiles. Just the fact that a landlord is tweeting is an indication that they take the job seriously. 
  • Next, search StreetEasy forums or Yelp for positive and negative discussions and reviews. (This is particularly useful for larger management companies, as opposed to mom-and-pop building owners.)​​
  • Do a search of potential violations at your future building at the Department of Building’s free database.
  • Check out the history of any bug infestations at the Bed Bug Registry
  • And, if possible, poll your prospective neighbors. No one has a better take on the quality of a landlord than those who already live in a building.

Related:

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Make sure your building manager isn't a dud

Crucial questions to ask your neighbors—before you move in

A new website lets apartment hunters get the dish on NYC buildings—before moving in