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How to Tell if You Landlord is Illegally Harassing You in New York

A landlord in New York is illegally harassing you if they threaten you, overcharge you, withhold repairs or utilities, deliberately cause construction related problem or contact you at your place of employment.

If your landlord is trying to get you to accept a buyout offer or surrender your rights as a tenant and they do any of the below things then they are illegally harassing you:

Examples of illegal harassment in New York

  • Threaten you
  • Send you unjustified eviction notices
  • Overcharge you for a rent-regulated apartment
  • Fail to provide necessary repairs or utilities
  • Deliberately cause construction-related problems
  • Improperly require you to seek, receive or refrain from submitting to medical treatment
  • Lock you out of your apartment illegally
  • Contact you at your job
  • Lies to you

State laws provides clear guidance on how a landlord should contact you about a buyout offer. He or she is required to send you written communication stating:

  • The purpose of the contact and that the contact is on behalf of the owner
  • That you can reject the offer and continue to live in your home.
  • That you have the right to seek advice from a lawyer and may seek information on the HPD website about legal services.
  • That, if you advise the owner in writing that you do not want to be contacted about any buyout offer, the owner cannot contact you about it for 180 days unless you let them know that you’re open to discussing an offer.

Fines your landlord will have to pay

Owners who illegally harass tenants are subject to a fine of $2,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for a second offense. If you live in a rent stabilized apartment in New York and your landlord is harassing you then you should fill out a form called "Tenant Statement of Complaint(s) - Harassment and submit it directly to the Department of Homes and Community Renewal.

You should also check to see if your building is covered by a New York City law that requires landlords get a "certificate of no harassment"in order to get permission from the city to start construction. If you live in one of these buildings then your landlord must have obtained this certificate.

Next steps

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice.