Project Description

New York City HPD’s four-year pursuit of obscenely negligent slumlord Joel Loutan, has finally lead to the Bronx Housing Court issuing a warrant for Mr. Loutan’s arrest. With tenants living in such extraordinarily appalling conditions, strong enforcement actions to remove negligent owners are warranted and should be applauded. And while such grievous cases are relatively rare, stronger preventative measures may have stymied the gross deterioration of this property. For instance, in the affordable housing industry, the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program requires significant rehabilitation in each transaction. This stringent requirement virtually eliminates the risk of having these properties fall into total disrepair and also protects investors. Such a beneficial alignment of public and private interests is a hallmark of the LIHTC program and perhaps a similar solution is possible outside of the affordable sector. After all, housing is, in many ways, a public good. Healthy, livable housing provides people with the stability and safety necessary to live a productive life. Shattering this foundation with egregious landlord negligence exacts a terrible cost on both residents and the community.