De Blasio signs tenant harassment bill

Measure lifts maximum penalty and requires DHP to post list of problem landlords

TRD New York /
Oct.October 01, 2014 03:40 PM

Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill Tuesday that will require the Department of Housing Preservation and Development to post a list of landlords found in Housing Court to have harassed tenants on its website. The measure also lifts the maximum penalty for such landlords to $10,000 per residential unit.

The measure gives teeth to a 2008 city law prohibiting tactics, such as interrupting utilities, that are commonly use in an effort to force tenants to vacate an apartment or waive their tenancy rights. Such actions on the rise in the city’s rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, according to the New York Times. From next year, such landlords who run afoul of the law will be publicly exposed.

“There are good landlords out there, but the ones who don’t do the right thing need to feel consequences,” Mayor Bill de Blasio, who ran a Worst Landlords Watchlist during his days as public advocate, told the Times.

Harassment complaints rose to 748 last year from 541 in 2012, housing officials told the paper, adding that only a fraction of such cases reach Housing Court and result in a harassment finding. More than 3,600 cases have been filed since 2008, with 810 leading to settlements and 45 a finding of harassment. [NYT]Julie Strickland

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