The Real Deal New York

Bill would hike fines for landlords who harass tenants

City Council proposal also calls for creation of public list of the worst offenders

September 23, 2014 10:00AM

From left: Jumaane Williams, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Margaret Chin

From left: Jumaane Williams, Melissa Mark-Viverito and Margaret Chin

The City Council is expected to pass a bill on Tuesday that will double fines for landlords who harass their tenants. The bill will also create a public list of the worst offenders, which would be maintained by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

According to those in support of the bill — a group that includes City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito — the proposal will help protect tenants from being pushed out of their homes, according to the Wall Street Journal. Harassment of tenants covers a wide range of violations, but can be as simple as landlords starting disruptive renovations without the intent of finishing them and falsely accusing tenants of not paying rent.

The new bill would raise the maximum fine for landlords found guilty of harassment from $5,000 to $10,000.

Council members Margaret Chin and Jumaane Williams co-sponsored the bill. According to the Wall Street Journal, the de Blasio administration as well as the Democrats in the City Council support the bill.

Opponents of the bill — mostly landlord advocates — said the new bill would have a negative effect on small-building owners. [WSJ] — Claire Moses

  • Sh!t My Tenants Say

    There are NO consequences for tenants who illegally rent out their RS apartments and/or do not use them as a primary residence. This makes identifying and removing such violators even more difficult. Way to protect your precious housing supply!

    • no-permits

      of course there is recourse if a tenant lives elsewhere or sublets.

      • Sh!t My Tenants Say

        Really? What? They just have to ‘cure’ the condition, and they pay zero penalty. No slap on the wrist or anything so no, NO CONSEQUENCES…

        • no-permits

          you can evict them based on non-primary use. the two of you (same person?) sound like you have no idea how to manage rent stabilized property. if you did, you wouldn’t be writing some of this stuff. you should be working the system to your benefit, the same way the tenants do.

          • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

            ahh but how much to litigate against the sushi defense and even better, we have the smoking gun – the pipe with the years of corrosion that instantly flood the apartments below when water is drained in the kitchen and sink of a nonoccupant – what does she do to cover up her nonexistence? Plays with the mail and tries to blame the landlord that there is no mail sent to her address.

            “the elaborations of a bad liar” but a committed one and it is horrifying dealing with someone that cynical and ruthless and hypocritical because calling her out means being involved in someone’s public unmasking instead of just enjoying a third party witnessing her sick me act and calling her the worst actress he has ever seen.

          • no-permits

            YOU ARE NUTS!!! what on earth are you talking about? tenant problems seem like the least of your issues.

          • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

            nope, our only problem is the crime committed by the family of the rent control tenant upon our family.

          • Marc

            This person speaks the truth.

          • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

            Wrong, everything stems from one poisonous rent control tenancy that liberates malice in the other regulated apartments because who would go against the bully on behalf of the victimized landlord.

          • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

            The only time we evicted someone was when they sicced their German shepherd on their feuding neighbor and she called repeatedly screaming hysterically in outrage even though the tenant of record and father of the dog owner had already made lewd intimations that infuriated the landlord and parent.

            The only time we ever paid someone for vacating was when the stepson showed up with two members of a a local association.

            And the reason for all of this is the worst crime of a landlord by rent control tenant story in New York City. If there is a worse story than ours than it is probably the sequel to our story and if it happened to anyone else, I’d like to see them carry it.

          • Sh!t My Tenants Say

            If I worked the system the same way some “professional tenants” do, then I would be no better than them. I am very respectful of my dozens of RS/RC tenants who play within the rules. When I see their apartment on AirBnB, or hear from neighbors about the revolving door of suitcase travelers, I have no mercy. Its really easy to spot many RS apts, the pictures of an apartment that looks like its form 1970 should be checked out by someone, but no dice…

        • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

          And airbnb is covering up for them. That is such a bad idea. Hotels should just lower their rates and build more so people can afford to travel but no way is it a good idea to let a stranger into your apartment … unless you never live in it, right? That airbnb income could buy you a house in Queens within a year and your landlady would be left with your plumbing mess and blamed for your bedbugs, etc.

          They love being in the papers telling lies they wouldn’t get away with as homeowners. How many working class homeowners demand the right to travel to see the waterfalls and explore their interest in photography. Holy crap. The opportunity gap is between rent regulated tenants and everyone else. Jesus.

          Please fine the tenants as well as the landlords. I understand about fighting against bullying sad vulnerable poor people but it’s a two way street. We have to elevate the level of at least the face of tenancy in New York instead of looking ungrateful and complaining about the poor door. I wouldn’t care if someone gave me cheap luxury housing and had a separate entrance for it. That’s awesome. Why complain except to be sadistic and opportunistic?

      • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

        tenants get free legal representation while landlords are being charged more than ever because the press creates this idea of real estate profitability so someone who needs clients still won’t be reasonable in their fees if the client is a property owner

    • maria565

      ever hear of non primary residence holdover? you clearly don’t know what you are talking about and your name exposed you as an arrogant pomous landlord, feel sorry for your tenants

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    Can we sue the legislators for bias? Where is the recourse for decent owners with frankly obscene tenants?

    Why didn’t the government condemn the tenant responsible for the sro situation that necessitated a vacate order? What about the tenant who committed arson in Nolita killing that neighbor?

    We have bills, photos, handycam tapes of really just unacceptable unkind conduct from tenants who not only admit causing damage in their apartments on answering machine tapes but who own property and businesses thanks to the money they save.

    It’s not fair. And on paper, the numbers just don’t add up and there is negligence on the part of government for offering blanket protection to tenants allowing really unsound menaces to society to enjoy the camouflage and the power to hurt innocent people.

    • Marc

      This is what happens without free markets and communist rule in city government. They pick the winners and losers and if you’re not lucky enough to benefit then you must pay for those lucky tenants.

      • NYC tenant

        No this is what happens when half the building inspectors just look the other way. I will be kind with my accusations.

        • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

          Yeah, let’s have a real accounting of called in violations, inspections and responses If you fix your building, you shouldn’t mind genuine research publicized on the matter because from the landlord side, we are told of tenant and inspectors against landlords and not what you are claiming.

      • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

        Nobody minds lottery winners but lottery winners aren’t commonly known for exploiting their special position to inflict damage on others.

        Even in recent news about issues with tenants refusing to allow repairs have indicated that those repair issues are suspicious. We treat all repairs the same but some of the ones we get are tenant created and that is just malicious.

    • maria565

      23 comments? get some psychological help!

      • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

        I know right? I have a lot of grievances!

        Welcome to my blog!

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    I’m actually not afraid of these rules because we never practiced these things. But I so mind harangues in the press about poor poor innocent tenants and cruel greedy landlords when in our case, it is the ugly filthy violent opposite. I don’t know what this city would be like if there wasn’t this preemptory intimidation and dissuasion of criminal interest in violently taking real estate from others but this method has devolved into allowing the bad guys to switch sides and cloak themselves in the sheep’s clothing of tenants.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    Get rid of succession rights. It’s not fair that not third generations of the same family are enjoying a practically free hotel suite in the heart of the city but that the tenancies can be secretly sold to new families as long as the tenants are dishonest and greedy enough to recognize them as kin. This happened to us and years later, the successor tenant gloated about it and they are so unkind and verbally nasty to my mother while covering up by making her offers of “peanuts” that she literally flees her own building to make phone calls to contractors because she is so abused by the situation in her building. She flees to make a phone call instead of staying in the building she pays for.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    Rent regulations in this city without the checks and measures of policing the tenants and making sure they are supposed to be rent regulated instead of handicapping the owners is a cross battery offense. The tenant advocates aren’t there for housing but act like attack dogs for the tenants and I will name names.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    How is this hurting small owners? I mind the reputation smear this is perpetuating.

    Why would you leave a repair unfinished? I don’t even know what that means.

    And no small owner is going to welcome having an abusive conversation with a tenant about their not sending a check in on time. We keep the postdated envelopes. We know. We don’t forget. I have no problem coming right out with my identity and saying that an unnamed tenant is an idiot and venal for playing games but why bother? We didn’t sign on to board of ship of pettiness and many many tenants are really interested in risk-free sadism. This is the one place they can get away with it and have the press side with them.

    People can be jerks and not because you never called them names like their neighbors but because they read the tenant anecdotes and know what they can get away with or because an altruistic advocate told them they should loosen the lightbulbs in the hallway. It’s a violation.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    You have to fine the tenants. The arson in Nolita. The SRO on Bayard Street. The thieving of utilities that resulted in a kaboom on Pike Streets. All three vacate orders last year were tenant caused.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    Make the tenants register real names and id numbers – why hide their social security numbers so they can hide their property ownership and businesses – how do you justify that when landlords have to give their home addresses?

    What about their airbnb income? How is it allowing them to afford this great city as if they a when the owner can’t even afford medication?

    • Pete

      jealous

      • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

        that’s right, Pete – tenants are jealous of owners and that is why they sabotage and commit acts of violence and bullying upon small owners and the law lets them get away with it and the press has no problem smearing dead landlords and printing their home addresses while protecting the identities of their murderers and character assassins

        • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

          but when there is nothing left to be jealous of, they still exploited all the opportunities conferred by their advantageous status but it still isn’t enough.

          The women especially revel in telling someone to clean their kitchen, scrub out their stove and just flaunting as if there is some great social privilege to owning income property so that the owner has to be retaliated against.

          And that’s how you know that rich or poor these people will always find someone to be mean to. I don’t agree that a tenant naturally has to be mean especially if they are not rich because life made them this way. If they were rich, they would probably be two-faced in church and at work but if there was ever some secret corner of their life where they could get away with bullying someone who wouldn’t retaliate, you’d better believe they’d bite into that apple.

        • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

          e.g. The New York Post never named the accusers of Menachem Stark who badmouthed him even though the violations were in place when he purchased the property.

          It’s just FUN for a natural bully to badmouth someone without risk.

      • Marc

        Yes Pete, The ones jealous here are the tenants. These are mostly shiftless sloppy liberals who get incensed at the sight of success and happiness.

  • hm

    That is an awesome color on Margaret, I must say. She should get affordable suit dresses made with peter pan colors. Classic and comfortable and flattering.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    If we are going to hand over free real estate to people, at least only give it to nice decent people. Give it to the handicapped, the returning war veterans. Not absolutely cruel people.

    rent regulated apartments are cheaper than condominium fees and someone else is going to be paying for all those airbnb parties:

    http://online.wsj.com/articles/new-ways-to-profit-from-renting-out-single-family-homes-1411150866

    • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

      You know a tenant and his subtenant don’t respond when my mother asks them to resolve the issue with their apartment. The former claims to be his lookalike brother while he is standing next to his wife and when Yelp reviews name him even though when we call his restaurant, someone claims to be his brother even though his home (his second one) in Flushing is still in his name.

      And his subtenant claims to be in distress and unemployed while being sued for shortchanging employees on reported wages at his big hit restaurant in Flushing with loads of Yelp reviews.

      And when the person inside the apartment says rent to us and the landlord says okay start the process with your identity – they won’t even give her that.

      • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

        It’s never discussed in the news that tenants hold real estate hostage so that owners can’t be aggressive like Joel Israel because they will make a mess of your property and then they call in violations and then on top of unaffordable repairs, you get fined.

  • errrrr?

    28 comments….23 from one person lol

    • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

      Small owners won’t look at real deal but they should because these amazing figures reported is where government policy against small owners is coming from.

  • Guest

    It’s unfortunate that the people with the most comments on this thread are truly unaware of the 100’s of thousands of decent landlord/rent-stabilized tenant relationships. Stop blanketing all rent stabilized tenants as being as horrible as the tenants you unfortunately have. When you do that, your argument is always weakened.

    • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

      Then how do you justify the near daily coverage of evil slumlords vs poor tenants if there are so many decent relationships which would have to involve decent landlords? So you agree that there is media and political bias against landlords.

  • NYC tenant

    Free market? you must be a LL. If you had just one, you would know what its like to have these parasites control your life. No hot water, an excuse or a court drama for every broken lock, toilet, sink. After a while you just pay to have it fixed yourself that’s the plan all along. They will do almost everything to get rid of rent stabilized tenants.
    I was amazed when at L/T court the amount of young women who where there for harassment, sit in one day and just listen, its NOT just the tenants there are a lot of greedy LL’s that have more money then they could ever spend in a life time and somehow its never enough. I say hooray its about time!

    • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

      There needs to be an accounting and a comparison to what NYCHA is going through. If they have similar experiences to what private owners are going through not just with repair issues and affordabiltity but NYCHA is not so glibly badmouthed, then we definitely have a propaganda issue against private owners.

      No one is murdering a NYCHA representative the way Menachem Stark was murdered and then maligned with impunity in the press.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    I considered donating a vacancy during Hurricane Sandy and that was the first and only time I was on airbnb and there were many unoccupied apartments in older buildings fully furnished where the offerers were tenants who lived elsewhere. If we impose a tax on pied-de-terres for infrequent occupancy, aren’t we saying that apartments should be used by tenants of record in rent regulated situations?

    The purpose of rent regulation is not being safeguarded. No one cares that tenants are profiteering or using them as infinite storage units or inherited pied-de-terres for school district enrollment at the expense of a landlord who has done nothing to deserve this burden. If we follow the rules as landlords, why are there so many loopholes and court decisions allowing the blaring dishonesty of people who employ the sushi defense with neighbors willing to lie on their behalf because it’s riskfree to lie to hurt a landlord.

    If we can prove that tenants lie about their neighbors being in the building, can those witnesses be sanctioned or put on a list?

    Do public housing or applications for cheap apartments in fancy buildings matched against whether they have rent regulated apartments?

    If Landlords are put on display as horrible people, is there a list of tenants who aren’t too lovely either?

    Do you see that there needs to be a balancing to prevent bullying on either side and not just on the side of the person’s whose private property is in the possession of someone who does not have to pay if they are damage the premises in this pro-tenant environment?

    SROs, arson and EXPLOSION last year and all were tenant induced.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    Can government please get involved and at least do something about tenants who make unauthorized changes in their apartments and if a landlord is so intimidated by decades of abuse including felonious violence against the family, can we please have government get involved and control these tenants when they play tricks and use intimidation to get the landlord to take on unnecessary repair and improvement obligations?

    We are not talking about eviction or harassment, we are talking about government authority to control and discourage this kind of tenant bullying. None of this will invite a fine on the landlord but the bad tenants are frightening the landlord into idiocy.

    If tenant privacy and reputation as sacred cows and perfect victims are so important, then we would be happy to offer our evidence behind closed doors.

  • Bullied and Damaged by Rent Re

    So now that the tenants are assured of protection, can the City Council please propose and pass a bill for fining tenants who intentionally destroy their apartments to create huge bills? If they are elderly and rent regulated, that shouldn’t give them a license to cause destruction when the legal fees for enforcing it is even more costly – that means organized crime can disguise themselves on paper as poor on paper and elderly and cause incredible financial hardship and get away with it under the current political climate. I doubt NYCHA would tolerate that type of tenant and frankly, if the city is so sympathetic to such a tenant, they should trade them into NYCHA and I will take one of their less intolerable tenants.

    No one should have to go through what my family is going through in my building and we want to put our evidence for examination by the City Council even if privately. It’s a doozy.

  • Concerned

    Maggie chin should go back to communist china, she is the biggest tenant harasser in New York, I am a regulated tenant and she’s scared the heck out of me to take a buy out from landlord telling me that the offer is a form of harassment, she wants to keep us poor so she can keep us stupid and get our votes, shame on you maggy.

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