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April 30, 2008

DiNapoli: Poor Oversight Plagues
DHCR Housing Program

Questionable Practices at Queens’ Rochdale Village
Trigger State Comptroller Investigation

Poor oversight of the Rochdale Village Mitchell-Lama Co-Operative housing complex in Jamaica, Queens by the State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) has opened the door for impropriety and triggered an in-depth review by the Office of State Comptroller Investigation Unit, according to an audit New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli issued today.

“State housing programs must be fair, and must adhere to clear and appropriate standards. This wasn’t happening at Rochdale Village, and that’s a problem,” DiNapoli said. “The facts found in our audit raise serious questions about the integrity of the tenant selection process at Rochdale. Our Investigation Unit has initiated a deeper review, which will help determine whether this matter should be referred to local law enforcement officials.”

The DiNapoli audit found that:

  • DHCR failed to adequately monitor Rochdale’s selection process, wait list management and compliance with a policy that gave existing tenants a priority on available units;
  • DHCR did not take the necessary measures to ensure that only approved authorized applicants take possession of an apartment;
  • Rochdale’s property manager permitted unauthorized tenants to occupy apartments, in some cases without even paying rent;
  • Rochdale’s property manager neglected to time stamp all applications to ensure that apartments were offered to applicants in a fair and orderly manner;
  • More than two dozen tenants who were given apartments between January 1, 2007 and April 9, 2007 had been allowed to unjustly bypass eligible tenants who were supposed to have priority on the established wait list; and,
  • Rochdale lost $186,560 of rent revenue by allowing almost 50 apartments to remain vacant without justification even though hundreds of qualified tenants waited on a list.

To improve practices, auditors recommended: establishing improved tenant selection procedures; improving oversight of procedural compliance; improving the DHCR application review process; and better monitoring of vacant apartments to ensure they are rented in a timelier manner.

Click here for a copy of the audit.

Click here to log a complaint with the Office of the State Comptroller Investigation Unit.



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