TROY, N.Y. — Today, a stop-work order was issued to prevent the removal of windows at the properties. The owner had failed to secure the required building permit and failed to provide the City of Troy with a remediation plan. This is not a mere technicality. Without a permit application, the City has no assurance that the work will be performed properly and in compliance with applicable building codes; nor does the City have any assurance that the apartments and contents therein will be safe and protected during the remediation work. Lexington Properties/182 Delaware LLC were informed of these requirements almost three weeks ago.
Code Enforcement also announced that a series of tickets were issued by Code Enforcement and the Madden Administration for, among other things, defective hand railings, guard rails, holes or penetrations in exterior walls, defective exterior stairs, broken glass at entry doors, and several tickets for “failure to maintain a structure fit for human occupancy.” The owner is directed to appear in Troy City Court on July 28, 2023.
“This morning marks three weeks since Code Enforcement evacuated families from their homes and in that time, Lexington Properties has made countless misrepresentations to the City, the media and most disgracefully, the hardworking families who paid them to provide safe and dependable housing,” said Troy Mayor Wm. Patrick Madden. “While the City of Troy is keenly interested in maintaining mutually beneficial relationships with the investors, business owners, and developers who come to our community, we have no interest in hosting irresponsible landlords who endanger our neighbors and bleed our City of resources.”
At the request of the property owners, the City of Troy has conducted two follow-up inspections of the Harbour Point Gardens apartments. During the first inspection it was apparent that the demolition work had been poorly handled, with holes punched through drywall and significant damage to electrical systems.
This week, the city received a letter from the engineer Raj Ekhalikar, P.E. of EXL Structural Consultants LLC, stating, “I can confidently state that Unit 144B, Unit 144D, Unit 144F, and Unit 144H are safe, functional, and fit for habitation, meeting the minimum standards for occupancy as outlined in the 2020 NYS Property Maintenance Code.”
What Code found during their second inspection was shocking and falls well below our minimum standards: fire hazards; broken glass; holes in the wall that could let in sunlight, vermin and the elements; and one detail that any engineer should have immediately noticed—none of the units were outfitted with carbon monoxide detectors, a legal requirement in New York State since 2010. A number of emergency egress windows were nonfunctional, and some were broken. One building was even without power, as demolition work had caused enough damage that National Grid had to cut off service.
It’s unclear how or why Raj Ekhalikar, P.E. of EXL Structural Consultants LLC called the units “fit for habitation” but in New York State, these conditions fall far short of the safe and fit standard for safe habitation.
Last night, the Troy City Council took a procedural vote to subpoena Lexington Properties and 182 Delaware, LLC after announcing the move last week, and will question them at a coming public hearing. This is not a court subpoena, but their testimony would be under oath and the subpoena is legally binding and enforceable. “Our tenants and community deserve better, and reckless landlords will be held accountable under the law,” noted Mayor Madden at the time in support of the subpoena.
The City of Troy requested contact information for all impacted residents on Friday, June 23. Lexington Properties has refused to provide tenant contact information to the City. Residents may subscribe to text updates by texting “HPG” to 38276, and updates are also available at troyny.gov/hpg.
Images taken today at the Harbour Point Gardens apartments are available for download on Google Drive. Images may be attributed to the Troy Mayor’s Office.
Background information on this matter may be found at troyny.gov/hpg.
Wm. Patrick Madden was elected Mayor of the City of Troy on November 3, 2015. Mayor Madden previously served for 30 years as the Executive Director of the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (TRIP), a community development corporation with a strong commitment to providing a path to home ownership through financial management counseling and educational programing, helping over thousands of families purchase their first home. Over the course of his tenure, Mayor Madden has rescued the City from a direly indebted financial position, initiated a comprehensive and equitable lead service line replacement program and enacted policies that have grown our small business economy and improved Troy’s housing stock.