Landlord harassment is illegal in New York. Tenants have the right to enjoy their units in peace so long as they are meeting the terms of their lease. 

Yet landlords may try to harass tenants for many reasons, especially in New York’s competitive real estate market. Often, the goal is to get you to break your lease and leave so they can raise the rent.

If your landlord is engaged in any of the following behaviors, you have the right to hold them accountable. 

#1) Using renovations to render the building unlivable. 

Landlords certainly have the right to update their buildings, but there are limits. If the renovations create unsafe conditions in your apartment, then the landlord is in violation of the warranty of habitability, and you can respond accordingly. 

#2) Pressuring you into accepting a buyout.

While landlords are allowed to offer you a buyout, they must follow certain rules.

  • The offer must be in writing.
  • They must inform you that you have the right to contact a lawyer.
  • They must inform you that you have the right to reject the buyout without losing your home.
  • They must inform you that you have the right to notify them in writing that you do not want to be contacted about the buyout offer. After that, they can’t contact you again for 180 days.
  • They must include a statement affirming that a buyout might mean needing to relocate to a different neighborhood and that your personal situation could impact your ability to rent a new apartment.

If they fail to inform you of your rights in writing, they’re harassing you. They’re also harassing you if they threaten you, intimidate you, use obscene language, contact you repeatedly, contact you at unusual hours, contact you at work without written permission, or knowingly misrepresent any information.

#3) Threats or intimidation.

Any form of threats or intimidation counts as harassment and is illegal.

#4) Unjust eviction notices. 

There are only two reasons why a landlord can evict the tenant. The first is that the tenant has violated some term of the lease and fails to respond to a notice to cure. The second is the tenant has failed to pay the rent. They must take you to court in either case.

If the landlord threatens to evict you or attempts to evict you for any other reason, they are committing harassment. 

#5) Failure to make necessary repairs.

Some landlords start ignoring repair requests in the hopes of making life unpleasant enough to prompt tenants to move out on their own. If any of those necessary repairs are covered by the warranty of habitability, they are in violation of the law.

Get Help from a Tenants Lawyer Today 

It’s important to understand your lease and to document everything that happens between you and your landlord. If you can’t resolve the problem on your own, reach out to our law firm. We’ll be happy to help.

See also:

5 Good Habits Every Tenant Should Adopt

What to Do If Your New York Landlord Won’t Make Repairs

Tenant Eviction Defenses in New York City

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