Both landlord harassment and landlord sexual harassment are felonies in the state of New York, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen. When they do, it’s important to know what your rights are and how to respond.

Here’s what you need to know and the next steps you should take. 

How the Law Defines Landlord Sexual Harassment

The law defines several forms of sexual harassment.

For example, quid pro quo harassment describes a scenario in which “the terms and conditions of a rental, including continued occupancy, rent, and the furnishing of services such as repairs, are conditioned upon compliance with the landlord’s sexual demands.” 

In other words, a landlord can’t pressure you into exchanging sex for rent, repairs, or the right to stay in your unit. 

The law also notes that you can’t create a “hostile environment” by subjecting a tenant to sexual advances or requests for sexual favors. This may include peeking in your windows or showing you sexual photographs or drawings. 

What if an apartment employee is harassing me?

Your landlord can be held liable for sexual harassment if a leasing agent, building superintendent, maintenance worker, or any other employee subjects ou to sexual harassment. 

What should I do next?

If you believe you’re a victim of landlord sexual harassment, you should contact a tenant’s rights lawyer before you do anything else. While you’re the party being wronged, your situation is delicate. Don’t break your lease or stop paying rent until you talk to a lawyer and work with that lawyer to gather evidence and discuss the next steps.

After you talk to the lawyer, you may be able to launch a lawsuit for damages, report the landlord to the New York Department of Human Services, or obtain other forms of relief, such as the right to break your lease without penalties. If your apartment is rent stabilized or rent controlled, you may also file a complaint with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR).

If you win a harassment case, your landlord may be required to pay financial compensation, both to you and to the city. 

Get Help Today

If you don’t move carefully, you could end up evicted, forced to pay in order to break your lease, or blacklisted for suing your landlord. 

Fortunately, I’m here to help you protect your rights. Contact my office right away if you need help.

See also:

5 Forms of Landlord Harassment

Tenant Eviction Defenses in New York City

Your Right to Safety as a New York Tenant

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