City to Raise Housing Fines, Create Bad Landlord Registry

The City Council recently approved a bill that would create an online public registry of landlords who bully tenants. Illegal tactics used to force out tenants can be as simple as falsely accusing residents of not paying rent and as elaborate as starting disruptive renovations without any intention of finishing them. The legislation modified a bill passed by the council in 2008 and signed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg that allowed tenants to sue for harassment in housing court.

The legislation, which passed 49-0, also doubles the maximum fine for harassing tenants, to $10,000. And it establishes a $1,000 minimum fine per apartment for a first offense, increasing to $2,000 for repeated offenses within five years.