An audit released Thursday by New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer found that the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) keeps apartments off the rent rolls for an average of 7 years while doing major repairs.
A total of 80 apartments have been left vacant for over a decade, and another 161 apartments have been empty for between three and ten years. In addition, while the Authority claims to have 2,342 vacant apartments, the audit made clear that NYCHA’s figures were estimates at best, with some of the units actually occupied by squatters and other city agencies.
“The fact that NYCHA has left 80 apartments vacant for over a decade, and another 161 apartments sitting empty for between three and ten years, is simply unacceptable,” Stringer said. “The more than 270,000 New Yorkers who are waiting for housing deserve much better treatment than that. It’s well past time for NYCHA to start getting it right.”
Auditors examined how NYCHA monitored and tracked vacant ‘off-roll’ and ‘on-roll’ apartments throughout 328 housing developments from July 2012 through April 2015.
Stringer said, “NYCHA’s ineptitude comes at a very steep price to taxpayers: more than $8 million in estimated lost rent that could have helped to pay for repairs and services to directly benefit its residents. It’s beyond the realm of explanation how years can pass before apartments become habitable. I think we can all agree that the process has to change, from top to bottom, and I look forward to working closely with NYCHA Chair Shola Olatoye as she works to improve the agency’s efficiency and effectiveness.”