Featured News 2014 New York Takes Steps to Fight Landlord Harassment

New York Takes Steps to Fight Landlord Harassment

In order to hold landlords accountable for their interactions with tenants, legislation signed into law in New York City requires that the names of landlords that have been found to harass tenants be publically published. This information can be found on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development website.

Public Shaming to Prevent Repeat Offenses

City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill that ensures that landlords that have been bought to court and found guilty of harassing their tenants are held responsible for their actions by allowing this information to be publically exposed. Since it is against New York City law for a landlord to harass their tenants in order to force them to leave an apartment or waive their rights, the public shaming steps were taken to minimize instances.

In 2013, the number of harassment claims across the city rose to nearly 750 individual complaints. Many of these cases are dismissed in court, with many others being settled before a verdict is reached.

Common forms of landlord harassment include:

  • Shutting off utilities, such as water or garbage collection
  • Refusing to maintain property
  • Threatening conversations
  • Frequent and illegal entry to the property
  • Baseless evictions

As many neighborhoods in the city have gentrified, landlords have been known to try and get lower paying tenants to leave in favor of signing leases with new, higher paying ones.

Some tenant groups note that many residents do not take action against landlords since landlord harassment cases are hard to prove and if lost, require the tenant to pay the landlord's legal fees as well as their own. They feel that this list is a good starting point but does not address all the landlords across the city that have harassed their tenants.

While landlords that have harassed their tenants are not representative of most landlords in the city, Mayor de Blasio feels as though punishing the offenders is a public service. It allows tenants to know what they are getting into when they enter into a lease agreement with these landlords, and also warn investors into buildings that the practices taking place may be illegal.

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