Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) announced today that a bill he introduced and passed as lead sponsor was signed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. The bill establishes the crime of harassment of a rent-regulated tenant where the landlord creates a disruptive, hazardous or uninhabitable condition in order to force tenants out of their home (Lentol-A6188/ Krueger-S2605).
The Bill was written in response to a high volume of cases in Lentol’s district where tenants were harassed by unscrupulous landlords who went to extraordinary lengths to force tenants out of their homes.
“Harassment that forces a tenant to move out of their homes is unacceptable. Many tenants in my district have suffered unimaginable harassment by landlords under the guise of necessary repairs, heat being turned off in the winter months, or cooking gas purposely not being connected. This bill takes a hard stance against landlords who put profit over people,” said Lentol.
The harassment of tenants in order to force them out so the landlord can raise the rent has been a rampant problem in North Brooklyn. This bill creates a new misdemeanor tenant harassment offense and expands the existing felony definition to eliminate the need to prove physical injury to a rent-regulated tenant and a landlord’s specific intent to cause physical injury.
“This bill will help protect tenants who have been innocent victims of both unscrupulous landlords and an ineffective penal law statute. I thank Attorney General Letitia James for her leadership on this issue and applaud Governor Cuomo for signing this bill that will go a long way to protect tenants from landlord harassment and help individuals and families stay in their homes,” concluded Lentol.