Katy Golvala


The building that has received the most 311 complaint calls in all of Brooklyn is right here in Bushwick.

In 2017, NYC 311, the agency that fields non-emergency requests from all of New York City, received over 2,000 complaints about 48 Jefferson St., an unassuming 2-story family property in Bushwick.

That number is particularly insane when you consider that it works out to about six complaints a day. It’s the second-highest number of complaints for any single address in all of New York City, and almost 10 times the number of complaints received for any other building in Bushwick.

So what’s going on at 48 Jefferson St.?

“I have no idea what that’s about … It’s a pretty quiet area,” said Zack, the owner of Rotten Island Records, a used record shop that opened around the corner from the complaint-ridden building about four months ago.

Zack has no idea because complaints about 48 Jefferson St. aren’t related to noise. They’re about housing conditions.

Residents of 48 Jefferson St. have complained to 311 about everything from electrical issues to lack of heat and hot water. The building currently has 406 open violations with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HDP), including 289 class B (hazardous) violations and 32 class C (immediately hazardous) violations.

By comparison, Jonathan Cohen/Silvershore Properties, the worst landlord in the city according to an official list, has 1,090 HPD violations across 188 units and 19 buildings. Four of those buildings and 249 of those violations can be found in Bushwick.

As of September, the building at 48 Jefferson St. appears to be occupied, according to a spokesperson from HPD.

“The last time we went out there we weren’t able to gain access, so we went back yesterday,” explained the spokesperson. At the time of the interview with Bushwick Daily, HPD couldn’t provide any additional details about whether anything resulted from the last visit.

The name of the building’s owner isn’t publicly available thanks to a rule that says one and two family properties are not required to register with HPD unless neither the property owner nor family members of the owner live on the premises.

There’s a tenant action currently underway against the building owner, and HPD’s Housing Litigation Division (HLD) has opened a case against him for heat and hot water violations, as well. HLD’s case is scheduled to go to court in January.

The HPD spokesperson wasn’t able to provide a date for when HLD started the process of making a case against the building owner or provide context for how their violations compare with other owners that HLD takes legal action against.

“If it was good, they wouldn’t be going to court,” said the spokesperson.

Of course, not all HPD violations are meant to result in legal proceedings. When HPD issues a violation against a building owner, the owner has a certain amount of time to respond to the violation, based on its class. If an owner consistently fails to act, that’s when a case might be pursued.

More information about how HLD pursues its cases can be found here.

Cover image courtesy of Google Maps