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Budget, Education & City Services

Intro. No. 627 – Tenant Harassment Bill

WHEREAS, A new bill was introduced by City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and Councilmembers Dan Garodnick and Melissa Mark-Viverito that creates a new harassment violation providing extra protection for tenants; and

WHEREAS, Under the current legal framework, tenants are limited in taking their landlords to Housing Court only for violations relating to the physical condition of the apartment or failures to provide essential services, like heating and hot water; and

WHEREAS, This new Tenant Harassment Bill defines the actions that qualify as harassment such as:

WHEREAS, The new bill states that the owner shall neither cause nor permit any harassment of tenants or lawful occupant; and

WHEREAS, Civil penalties for judicial findings of harassment range from $1,000 to $5,000; and

WHEREAS, Provisions have been made in the bill to protect the owner as well, for example:

WHEREAS, 97% of housing court cases are owners pursuing tenants, thus there is little concern that this legislation will create an upsurge in frivolous lawsuits by tenants; and

WHEREAS, This legislation protects all tenants not just rent-regulated tenants (the NY State Division of Housing and Community Renewal currently calls for harassment protection against rent regulated tenants only); and

WHEREAS, This legislation is of utmost relevance in light of the current surge of high-end real estate development driving tenants of moderate and affordable housing out of our district; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five urges the New York City Council to pass this Tenant Harassment legislation and the Mayor to sign it into law.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 25 in favor, 0 opposed, 1 abstention.

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