New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development

 

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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Taxpayers' Guide to State and Local Audits

New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development
Vacancies at the Clinton Towers Mitchell-Lama Housing Development (Follow-Up)


Issued: January 30, 2020
Link to full audit report 2019-F-55

Objective
To determine the extent of implementation of the recommendations in our initial audit report, Vacancies at the Clinton Towers Mitchell-Lama Housing Development (Report 2017-N-1).

About the Program
Our initial report, which was issued on December 8, 2017, examined whether vacant housing units at the Clinton Towers Mitchell-Lama development were being rented in a timely manner. The audit period was January 1, 2012 through March 31, 2017. 
The Mitchell-Lama Housing Program was created in 1955 to provide affordable rental and cooperative housing to middle-income families. Clinton Towers, a federally subsidized Mitchell-Lama rental development in Manhattan, is owned by Clinton Towers Housing Company, Inc., which was formed in 1972 for the purpose of constructing, owning, and operating the 396-apartment development. The development is managed by P&L Management and Consulting. Prospective tenants file an application and their names are placed on a waiting list based on the size of the apartment requested. When vacancies occur, applicants should generally be offered and awarded apartments in the order their names appear on the lists – subject to the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s (HPD) approval. Apartments in Mitchell-Lama developments tend to be very desirable because of their affordability; consequently, the waiting lists for these apartments can be quite lengthy. As of August 2, 2019, Clinton Towers officials report there were over 10,000 applicants on the waiting lists for apartments at Clinton Towers.

The initial audit found that HPD was not adequately monitoring vacancies at Clinton Towers, and apartments were often not rented in a timely manner. The audit found that, for the period January 2012 through March 2017, an average of 13 apartments each month had been vacant for over 60 days, resulting in an estimated $740,000 in lost rental revenue. Additionally, as of March 31, 2017, 15 apartments at Clinton Towers had been vacant for more than 60 days, despite over 9,000 applicants being on the external waiting lists. Eleven of these apartments had been vacant for more than six months, including three that had been vacant for more than a year.

Key Finding
We found that HPD officials made some progress in addressing the problems we identified in the initial audit report. Of the four recommendations included in our initial audit report, HPD officials implemented one and partially implemented three.  

Key Recommendation
Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of the follow-up review to provide information on any action planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this review.


State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Director: Kenrick Sifontes
Phone: (212) 417-5200; Email: StateGovernmentAccountability@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236