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Landlords in New York cannot harass commercial tenants

There are many people renting in New York. So, there are many landlords and many tenants. Most people think about people living in apartments when they think about landlord and tenants, but there are also many businesses who rent from landlords as well. Residential tenants have many more rights than commercial tenants though since there is a difference between one's home and one's business. However, commercial tenants do still have some rights and if they are violated they can lead to landlord-tenant disputes.

One of these rights is that landlords cannot harass commercial tenants. In order to prove that a commercial landlord is harassing a tenant, the tenant must demonstrate that the landlord is doing various things to try and force the tenant to vacate the premises and the landlord engaged in wrongful behavior to do this.

The wrongful behavior can be a number of different things. One would be using force or threatening to use force against the tenant's clients or customers. Another is causing disruptions or discontinuing an essential service such as electricity. Landlords cannot do unnecessary repairs or construction intended to make running the business difficult. They also cannot change locks nor do other things to prevent the tenant from entering the property. Basically landlords cannot make repeated attempts to substantially interfere with the tenant's business to try an induce them to leave.

There are many good landlords in New York, but there are also those who will do anything to make a little bit more money. Some are willing to engage in this type of behavior. If they do they could be fined anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 and be ordered to stop the behavior as well as pay the tenant's court costs. It is important for commercial tenants to understand their rights in these situations so they can continue to run their business without undue interference from the landlord. Experienced attorneys understand tenants' rights and may be able to help protect them.

Source: New York City Bar, "Commercial Tenant Harassment," accessed on Aug. 17, 2017

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