The Real Deal New York

Bill targets landlords who hound senior tenants

Proposal would double civil penalty for abusive landlords, put names on blacklist

March 14, 2014 03:04PM

Margaret Chin,

Margaret Chin, the bill’s sponsor

New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus is looking to double down on penalties against landlords who harass senior residents in an effort to boot them from rent-controlled apartments.

A bill introduced last week would double the maximum civil penalty to $10,000 for property owners who abuse seniors. The legislation would also place such property owners on a black list maintained by the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development. City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who sponsored the legislation, said that most elder abuse comes in the form of cutting heat or hot water, or refusing necessary repairs on apartments.

“Many seniors live in rent-regulated apartments,” she told Crain’s, adding that as much as 45 percent of older New Yorkers have been in their home for decades. “There are some really bad [landlords] out there who want to get rid of long-term tenants to make more money.”

As many as 120,000 senior residents — 12 percent of the city’s elderly population — suffer abuse annually, according to 2011 data from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services cited by Crain’s. [Crain's]Julie Strickland

  • document everything

    Is she planning on fining NYCHA then? Because I don’t see how anyone can limit heat and hot water just on elderly abuse victims. Wouldn’t that mean cutting off heat and hot water on everyone? And isn’t there a rule that tenant can demand the heating bills to prove that the heat is off? This bill should stipulate that the heating and hot water bills should be entered into evidence to prevent any landlord from being mischaracterized as a slumlord.

    • document everything

      We wouldn’t want to malign anyone – even a landlord – would we?

  • springtime for margaret

    I like her jacket. She should wear that color all the time.

  • JoeyWall

    Remind me again what the penalty is for rent stabilized tenants that violate the law by living in their units part time or exceeding the $2500/$250k decontrol threshold? Oh, wait, there are no penalties…

    • justice takes a holiday

      http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com/2012/12/14/the-day-tenants-buy-cooper-square-apartments-for-250/

      Once they own something, do you really think they will routinely break every new window in the apartment and make the landlord fix it when the exact same windows in the market rate apartments have never required repair?

      Oh, wait, maybe a sympathetic market rent tenant will read this and start aping every repair issue that a habitual rent regulated tenant reports so you are fixing two apartments for the exact same repair issue in tandem. How fun it is to sympathize with rent regulated shenanigans against a slumlord. No, that’s not sadistic and indicative of a bad character at all. We mustn’t let the big bad landlord turn tenants against each other.

  • It’s always a bloodsport

    She was recently appointed to a committee dealing with elder issues. But I don’t know why there always has to be a villain with her preferably a property owner and preferably the punishment should both be monetary hardship and public humiliation. Anyone else noticing a pattern?

    http://thevillager.com/2014/01/23/chairperson-change-for-chin/

  • Anyone else confused?

    Does a legal department drafts these bills? I’m baffled by the plotholes in this proposal.

  • how much to dismiss a fine?

    Holy crap. Is this fine going to be managed by HPD or ECB or god help us, the courts?

  • always in the news this one

    Has she herself ever been in a situation where she has been prey to such fines? Does she own a home or is she a rent stabilized tenant somewhere? Has she ever had to pay for a new roof or shovel out a driveway? Or does she think this is something only the evil rich have ever had the opportunity to enjoy? What is her background? Why is she always so angry and punitive?

  • tenants better hope I’m wrong

    Okay, … a blacklist. There are a lot of blacklists out there and I don’t know how to tell you this but ….

    Where to begin?

    Remember when there was some kind of lawsuit where a tenant didn’t want himself on record in Housing Court as having sued his landlord i.e no tenant should be on record as being involved in a Housing Court case so he couldn’t get onto a – his word – “a blacklist”? Either it got wiped after seven years or it got wiped if he won the case or it was through no fault of his own that he sued the landlord or the landord sued him or somethin? I’m pretty sure that lawsuit was won in that the tenants never wanted backlash or to be publicly known for whatever.

    I remember thinking at the time that (1) the tenants wanted their cake and to eat it too – they probably also thought there things they didn’t want the entire public or the press to know about and (2) how could they not understand how New York works?

    This is a city with hundreds of years of multigenerational family businesses like law firms, investment companies and medical offices providing services to the city in an ever more litigious world.

    I really don’t know where to begin because ….

    • word to the wise

      even posting comments on expertly run local-oriented websites is not a secret endeavor as far as the webmaster is concerned.

      someone always knows and in New York, a lot of experts are running the show

      and no one checks when you apply for a job with access to public records who your in laws or cousins are

  • Justice for All

    Let there be reciprocity. If a tenant burns down the building, maybe … just maybe they should leave the rent regulated apartment. Maybe it would be too harsh to put them on a blacklist but definitely let them cover the expense of the vacate order.

    Let there be reciprocity and let it begin in landlord tenant New York City.

  • ralphpetrillo

    Why not make the fine $ 2 million.

    • looking good at LL’s expense

      seriously how do these slumlords control the hot water to only flow out of market rate faucets for twenty-something tenant and not for elderly tenants paying a lower rent?

      I’m sure the Pentagon would love to know the physics of this.

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