The presence of slumlords in a large metropolis like New York is an unpleasant fact. For people living in rent-stabilized apartments, landlord-tenant disputes are commonplace when a landlord is disreputable. Often, these landlords will engage in unethical or outright illegal activities in an attempt to push out the current residents. By getting the renters to leave, landlords will be free to move in new residents and collect a greater amount of rent.
One of New York's most notorious landlords has been tasked with paying $8 million in restitution to his former tenants. According to reports, this alleged slumlord is accused of using the following illegal tactics to oust residents from their rent-stabilized homes.
- Refusal to address livability conditions
- Using henchmen to "intimidate, stalk, and threaten" tenants
- Turning residences into hazardous construction zones
- Engaging in illegal construction
- Filing frivolous lawsuits against residents
Some of the landlord's tenants reported ceiling collapses, sewage backwash and unrepaired roof holes in their residences. Unaddressed issues like these create intolerable living conditions and are often the reason residents decide to leave rent-stabilized apartments. These activities are also against the law.
Attorneys filed a lawsuit against this landlord in 2016 resulting in a recent settlement requiring the property owner to pay restitution to many of his previous tenants. As the largest settlement of its kind, perhaps this case will deter other landlords from engaging in similar illegal activities against tenants.
This case may also show wronged tenants living in rent-stabilized residences that there is a way to fight back against slumlords. Please consider contacting an attorney if your landlord is trying to push you out of your home by using illegal and threatening tactics.
Source: Patch, "Slumlord Steve Croman To Pay $8 Million To Harassed Tenants," Clara McCarthy, Dec. 20, 2017