Owner to Pay $500K in Tenant Harassment Case

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a first-of-its-kind settlement between the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force and ICON Realty Management. This settlement provides tenants broad relief, requiring the owner to end harassment and hazardous living conditions for the hundreds of tenants in buildings owned and managed by ICON.

Tenants in several ICON-owned rent-regulated buildings in the East Village, the Lower East Side, and Brooklyn were forced to live in adverse conditions, enduring excessive dust and debris from construction in the building common areas and apartments, inconsistent and irregular heat and hot water, and lack of cooking gas and elevator service for extended periods. The Task Force investigation found that, on multiple occasions, ICON failed to obtain Department of Buildings (DOB) work permits, performed construction outside the scope of the permits issued, and failed to appropriately clean or maintain the construction work areas. The Task Force investigation also found that ICON ignored tenants’ requests for repairs, failed to correct housing and building code violations in a timely manner, and subjected tenants to long-lasting interruptions of heat, hot water, and cooking gas services.

The Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD), executed by the Attorney General’s office, requires ICON to adopt policies and procedures to prevent future violations and safety risks; corrects all outstanding housing, maintenance, and building code violations; establishes safe construction practices; provides rent abatements to tenants during disruptions of essential services; appoints a tenant liaison to immediately address tenant concerns; and establishes an independent monitor to ensure ICON’s compliance with the agreement. The settlement also requires ICON to pay $300,000 to the State of New York (on behalf of the Task Force) and over $200,000 in penalties, fees, and costs to New York City’s Housing Preservation & Development and Department of Buildings.