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NEW YORK CITY HOUSING AUTHORITY SUED IN NEW YORK FOR LEAD PAINT POISONING AND OTHER VIOLATIONS

The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) is a New York state public-benefit corporation, whose mission is to increase housing opportunities for low-and moderate-income New Yorkers, by providing more affordable housing options. More than 400,000 New Yorkers reside in NYCHA’s 328 housing developments located throughout New York City’s five boroughs. NYCHA, while often considered a success in comparison to other large public housing authorities throughout the country, are still rife with issues relating to the habitability of their buildings.

Each year NYCHA receives thousands of complaints about problems with their buildings. These complaints often include broken elevators, insufficient heat, mold, infestations, and broken locks. Many of these conditions go unchecked and cause injuries and harm to the tenants that live in these housing developments. As a result of these problematic living conditions NYCHA has faced mounting pressure both in and outside of the courtroom.

In February 2018, a lawsuit on behalf of the 400,000 plus NYCHA tenants was brought in state court. This lawsuit alleged that NYCHA had left their housing in a state of neglect, leading to tenants living in squalid conditions, including, but not limited to, toxic lead, broken and dangerous elevators, and broken and missing locks. The lawsuit demanded that the court appoint an independent monitor to oversee NYCHA because of the Authority’s multiple failings.

In April 2018, NYCHA was sued once again, this time as a result of NYCHA’s failure to provide heat and hot water to tenants. Lawyers, on behalf of the tenants, demanded rent abatements for individuals who lost heat or hot water during the prior winter. The suit also alleged NYCHA knowingly put its residents in danger by leaving them with few options for heat, other than keeping their stoves on for extended periods of time.

In June 2018, yet another lawsuit was filed in federal court, this time accusing NYCHA of violating health and safety regulations, exposing tenants to toxic lead paint, and training its employees to deceive safety inspectors. Former agency officials informed authorities of NYCHA’s dangerous and illegal practices, such as workers shutting off a building’s water supply to hide leaks and building false walls out of plywood to conceal dangerous conditions.

NYCHA reached a settlement in this federal lawsuit, in an amount exceeding $2 billion, to be paid out through 2027. In addition to the $2 billion settlement, NYCHA admitted to the allegations levied against them and agreed to oversight by a federal monitor.  A group representing NYCHA tenants voiced their displeasure at the settlement of the suit and alleged that the settlement provides little to no oversight of NYCHA’s day-to-day operations.

While these lawsuits and federal oversight into NYCHA’s operations may provide a step in the right direction to providing numerous New Yorkers with better living conditions, many of these dangerous practices continue to exist throughout NYCHA housing developments.

Leav & Steinberg represent innumerable individuals who have suffered injuries in NYCHA housing developments. Individuals who have experienced such injuries must act fast. As NYCHA is a New York state-public benefit corporation, a claimant has only 90 days from the date of their accident to file a Notice of Claim. A Notice of Claim is a requirement, set forth in New York law, that a Claimant must fulfill in order to be able to sue any city, county, or State agency. Claimants who fail to file their Notice of Claim risk having their claim barred forever. If you have recently suffered an injury in a NYCHA housing development, Leav & Steinberg can help you move forward with your claim today.