Most of the landlord-tenant laws in New York are in place to protect the tenant. This means that they can ultimately hurt the landlords’ ability to make as much money as they may like. Therefore, many landlords try to circumvent the laws or in some cases simply ignore or violate them in order to make extra money. Many can get away with it because many tenants do not know their rights. However, tenants have many rights and landlords who violate them may find themselves in a landlord-tenant dispute.
Recently, a landlord in Brooklyn reached a settlement with the Attorney General for $132,000 for violating the laws surrounding lease buyouts. The landlords illegally approached their tenants offering them buyouts of their rent stabilized apartments without giving them prior notice. They also did not properly advise the tenants of their rights regarding the buyout. The Attorney General stated that the landlords were harassing their tenants into taking the buyouts.
There are very specific rules regarding rent stabilized apartments in New York. The laws do a great job of protecting tenants from massive increases in rent and that is precisely why they are in place. However, most landlords do not like them because it limits how much rent they can charge and therefore limits how much money they can make. One way they try to get tenants out of these apartments is by offering buyouts. While they may be attractive short-term options for a tenant, in the long run it can hurt them since they are in rest stabilized apartments.
There are many rent stabilized and rent controlled apartments in New York. These give the tenants very good protections. Landlords therefore may try to offer buyouts to their tenants so they can charge more rent to the next tenant. Therefore, it is important for tenants to know their rights and know what they are agreeing to with a buyout offer.
Source: www.amny.com, “Tenant harassment suit against Bushwick landlords settled for $132G, Schneiderman says,” Rajvi Desai, Nov. 3, 2017