Bill targets landlords who hound senior tenants

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

Margaret Chin, the bill's sponsor
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.

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“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