Ed Day, Rockland County Executive


May 2, 2016

Contact: Jane Lerner, Director of Strategic Communications

Office of the County Executive (845) 638-5645


Rockland takes on slumlords and wins

Rockland County Executive Ed Day announces result of first year of Rockland Codes Initiative:

NEW CITY, NY — The Rockland Codes Initiative was started one year ago as a way to do something about the slumlords that prey on tenants who live in dangerous and sometimes disgusting conditions.

The results after one year show that this initiative has been a success.

"We are getting compliance," said Rockland County Executive Ed Day. "The landlords know we are not kidding. We are coming after them. And when they realize that, they make the repairs they need to make."

The initiative allows residents to report unsafe housing conditions through a confidential web-based system. The involves the efforts of the Rockland Department of Health, which coordinates with other county agencies.

The goal is to force landlords to make repairs so that everyone in Rockland is living in a safe home.

Day joined Rockland Commissioner of Health Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert and Catherine Johnson Southren outside a house at 11 South Street in Haverstraw. The home has two apartments, both of which had numerous dangerous conditions, including broken windows, lack of a second exit, missing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, inoperable plumbing, leaking ceilings, mice and roaches.

The landlord was brought to formal hearings before the Board of Health twice.

It wasn't until the landlord was fined more than $41,000 that the violations were corrected. The tenants now have a safe place to live.

That wasn't the only success story.

In the first year of the Rockland Codes Initiative: (May 1, 2015-April 29, 2016):

  •     1,238 complaints were received, compared to 836 the year before. (416 complaints received through new, confidential web-based reporting system)

  •    5,802 inspections were conducted, compared to 3,191 the year before.

  •     A total of 7,812 violations were issued through the program in its first year. And  2,272 of them were critical, life-threatening violations.

  •  And $453,166.25 in fines were assessed, compared to $53,637 the year before.

  •   No one has been put out on the street as a result of these inspections.

People are living in safer homes. First responders aren't going – blind – into a death trap.

Day is still working on the Rental Registry, which will require landlords with three or more units to register with the county.

RCI staff works with numerous agencies, including DSS, Adult Protective Services, Sheriff's Department, the Office of Fire and Emergency Services and others.

"Because of the Rockland Codes Initiative, everyone in Rockland is safer," Day said.