By Dan Rivoli
When the Department of Homeless Services wanted to open a shelter in a West 107th Street building last February, the city was unaware of the landlord’s identity. The building’s owner was G M Canmar Residence Corporation. But the West Side Spirit used Department of Finance records to identify the owner as Mark Hersh, a notorious landlord who intimidated his tenants into moving.
Now, Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, who represents the area with the aforementioned homeless shelter, recently authored a bill that requires corporate owners of residential buildings to provide names and addresses of its principle partners. The legislation, which passed unanimously in the Council, also bans the use of P.O. boxes or mail-handling facilities as mailing addresses.
Listing corporations as a building’s owner is common among landlords. Often, a building’s owner is listed as an address with LLC tacked on. This poses a problem to tenants in multiple-dwelling buildings who may have a problem that needs to be addressed.
“Today, the New York City Council is sending a message that landlords should not be allowed to hide behind shell companies as tenants scramble to resolve housing issues,” Mark-Viverito said. “Thanks to this legislation, tenants will have access to the names and contact information of the principal partners of these corporate entities that are increasingly the owners of our city’s residential buildings.”
The bill is on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s desk, awaiting his signature or veto.
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