City Council Limits Owners' Attempts to Buy Out Rent-Stabilized Tenants
The City Council recently passed three measures meant to protect rent-stabilized tenants from pressure to agree to buyouts or cash payments in return for giving up their apartments. All three measures passed with only one negative vote from Staten Island Republican Councilman Steven Matteo. Here are the bills:
Intro. 682–This bill makes it an act of harassment for an owner to make a buyout offer using threatening or obscene language, to misrepresent any facts, or to contact a tenant at work or make the offer “with such frequency, at such unusual hours, or in such a manner as can reasonably be expected to abuse or harass such person.”
Intro. 700–This bill amends the city Housing Maintenance Code’s definition of tenant harassment, making it unlawful for owners or hired “tenant relocation specialists” to make tenant buyout offers without notifying residents of their right to refuse the offer. It requires owners offering buyouts to inform tenants of their rights in writing, including the right to reject the offer and to hire a lawyer. It also prohibits owners from offering a buyout within 180 days of receiving written notice that a tenant does not want to accept one.
Intro. 757–This bill prohibits owners from making repeated buyout offers if the renter has told the owners, in writing, that he or she is not interested, “except that the owner may contact such person regarding such an offer if given express permission by a court of competent jurisdiction or if notified in writing by such person of an interest in receiving such an offer.”