In New York City, you need a license to style hair, serve food, or do manicures. But you don’t need a license to put up apartments for rent in NYC. Anyone with the money to do it can buy up a building in Williamsburg, Washington Heights, or the West Village, and manage it pretty much as they please.

That’s why notorious slumlords like Steven Croman, who racked up over $1 million in outstanding fines for running his buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan’s East Village into the ground, can harass and abuse their tenants for so long without recourse — even as renters go months without utilities, while paying out the nose.

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