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Property owners bear the onus for safety of others

New York City attracts people from all over the world. Some come to visit briefly. Others become permanent residents. One of the biggest challenges for any newcomer hoping to stay for a while is finding reasonably priced living quarters. The hunt can be so arduous that some might be tempted to jump at the first thing they come across, even if all outward signs suggest they are walking into a danger zone.

On one level, it might be easy to rationalize the decision by planning to be extra careful or taking comfort knowing that premises liability laws put the burden of keeping property safe and secure on the owner of the building. No one should face health problems or injury due to inadequate maintenance or negligent security, but we all know it happens. When it does, holding owners accountable often becomes the responsibility of the victim.

The city does what it can to ensure that dwellings in the city are habitable. To that end, the Public Advocate's office issues a yearly list of the city's worst landlords. Topping the chart of the latest list is Silvershore Properties. It owns 19 buildings in the city and records show that the company has the most open housing violations of any other relative to the number of buildings owned. The company's buildings provide 188 apartment units and there were more than 1,100 open citations on them from the city's Departments of Buildings and Housing Preservation and Development when the list was put out.

Those departments also represent resources that apartment seekers can tap into when they are conducting their search. The DOB manages an online system that provides information on issues related to a specific address. Everything from filed complaints, to inspections, violations and actions ordered is accessible. Also included are violations issued by the Environmental Control Board.

New York City is a big place. Not every property owner is a bad actor. But all it takes is one to create conditions that put visitors and residents alike at risk. If you get hurt, consult an attorney to learn your options for seeking compensation.

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