City Council Passes Bill to Publicly Shame Landlords Who Harass Tenants

Posted on: September 24th, 2014 at 5:22 am by

For the most egregious landlords out there, consequences are finally starting to snowball.

City Council is now paying attention to the plight of tenants that must contend with harassment by speculative landlords. Those who make life a living hell in order to boot tenants and raise rents. Countless residents and businesses have allegedly suffered.

To that end, Council Members Margaret Chin and Jumaane D. Williams introduced legislation (Intro No. 129-a) that not only doubles fines for landlords found guilty of harassment, but also would publicly shame them online. According to the bill passed by the Council yesterday, maximum penalty for offenders is increased from $5,000 per residential unit to $10,000 per residential unit. And for those found guilty more than once within a five-year period, the minimum fine is raised from $1,000 per residential unit to $2,000 per residential unit.

The public shaming portion of the legislation will require the offending landlord’s name to be published on the HPD website alongside the address where the harassments transpired.

“We’re setting a new standard for punishing landlords who harass tenants,” said Council Member Margaret Chin, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Aging. “We’re doing it because these types of unethical landlords are ruining lives and killing affordable housing in our communities. Tenant harassment leads to the illegal deregulation of rent-regulated apartments, and it often targets our most vulnerable seniors. Preserving New York City’s affordable and senior housing stock means getting tougher than ever on landlords who engage in this behavior, and that’s exactly what we’ve done today. I look forward to seeing our bill signed into law so it can go to work protecting tenants and affordable housing throughout our city.”

“While there are plenty of landlords across this city who do the right thing by their tenants, we know there are select, consistent bad actors that make life hard in a city where finding quality, affordable housing is a challenge,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader, Chair of the Council’s Committee on Housing and Buildings. “I am proud to cosponsor a bill that will combat harassment from landlords and will reduce the financial incentive to harass tenants out of their homes by raising violation fines. This bill is not meant to fine landlords the maximum penalty for every violation, but will give judges the discretion to levy the fine against the most egregious bad actors. Today sends a clear message to all landlords that this city will not allow such illegal behavior, and that the New York City Council will serve and protect all tenants throughout the five boroughs.”

Recent Stories

‘Caribea’ Grill Readies Space Left Vacant by Domino’s on Allen Street

Ever since Domino’s ditched its decades-old Allen Street location three years ago, the commercial space has been a vacancy consistently peddled on the market. Now, a new concept is a-knockin. Caribea is as it sounds – a fast casual pan-Caribbean grill. The restaurant at 203 Allen will seat fourteen tables and a stand-up bar, for […]

The Projects Jockeying for the $20M Chinatown Revitalization Funds

Several months ago, Governor Hochul announced a $20 million grant in the form of the Downtown Revitalization initiative (DRI).  Some forty sites around Chinatown were identified during the DRI process, which is led by a Local Planning Committee of community representatives and supported by State agency staff and a consultant team. That list was ultimately […]

Displaced Chinatown Business Returns Months After Devastating Fire

Four months after a deadly fire knocked out 78 Mulberry Street, one of its businesses returned to the scene. Ewa Trading Company reopened in its former Chinatown home earlier this week. The store had spent some of the interim displacement period selling from a shuttered Vietnamese restaurant a few paces north. The two-alarm fire broke […]

EDC Sues Essex Restaurant for Back Rent over Former Essex Market Lease

Three years removed from its relocation across Rivington Street, the city filed suit against the Essex restaurant for alleged unpaid rent. The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) sued Essex for nearly $60,000 in unpaid back rent on the former Essex Market building it previously occupied, according to the lawsuit filed Monday. The city entity claims that […]

Exile on Orchard Street: Tenement Museum Recreates Exhibits During Renovations

The Tenement Museum is amidst a preservation project at 97 Orchard Street, but will continue its programming with replicas not too far away. The 1863-era tenement this past Sunday embarked on “vital” restoration work to preserve its walls, floors, roof, as well as the installation of a new HVAC system that will provide improved climate […]