City Council Committees Consider Two COVID-19 Tenant Protection Bills

On April 28, 2020, the City Council Committee on Housing and Buildings and Committee on Consumer Affairs and Business Licensing held a joint public hearing on two bills that would provide protection to residential and commercial tenants who are financially impacted by COVID-19.

Introduction 1912, sponsored by Council Speaker Corey Johnson, would prohibit court marshals and sheriffs from enforcing evictions and collecting debt for one month after the federal and state moratoriums on evictions are lifted. And Introduction 1936, sponsored by Council Member Ritchie Torres, would make it illegal to harass a tenant based on how he was impacted by COVID-19. Under Introduction 1936, it would be illegal under the city’s Housing Maintenance Code for landlords to harass tenants based on their COVID-19 status, their status as an essential worker, or if the tenant received rent relief during the pandemic. The bill would allow tenants to bring the harassment claim to housing court. A landlord found to be in violation would face a fine of $2,000 to $10,000.

The two bills have been postponed or laid over in committee.