New York City’s Department of Buildings (DOB) has unveiled a new measure to prevent landlords from filing paperwork that falsely claims a building is empty of rent-regulated tenants and thus ready for construction or demolition.
Commissioner Rick Chandler said at a City Council hearing that the agency is currently integrating a vast state database of rent-regulated apartments into its own information systems, Crain’s New York Business reports. The data integration will allow DOB officials to double check claims made by any landlord that their building is free of protected residents and take disciplinary action if necessary.
“This measure will prevent owners of rent-regulated buildings from getting construction permits if they submit false statements to the department,” Chandler said.
The Kushner Cos., associated with White House advisor Jared Kushner, was found this spring to have falsely claimed it had no rent-regulated tenants in 34 of its buildings that were undergoing work, the Associated Press had reported earlier. The firm therefore avoided the additional scrutiny over their construction practices, which tenants told said were intrusive and designed to push them out of their apartments.
In response, Crain’s reports that the city fined Kushner Cos. more than $200,000 and instituted the new measure.