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It is illegal for building owners to force tenants to leave their apartments or surrender their rights. If you are a tenant in an apartment in New York City who is being harassed by your landlord, you can get information and help. Free legal assistance is available to low-income tenants who are being harassed.
The harassment of tenants can include:
- Not offering leases or lease renewals.
- Repeatedly trying to pay you to move out (aka buyouts: rent-regulated tenants can reject buyout offers and continue to live in their home. If you are offered a buyout, there are certain rules that the property owner has to follow when making the offer.)
- Unjustified eviction notices or illegal lockouts.
- Threats and intimidation, such as late-night phone calls.
- Discrimination on the basis of immigration status.
- Overcharging for a rent-regulated apartment.
- Repeated interruptions of essential services, such as heat, water, or electricity.
- Failure to provide necessary repairs on reported conditions.
- Deliberately causing construction-related problems for tenants, such as working after hours, blocking entrances, or failing to remove excessive dust or debris.
You should first report apartment and building conditions or lack of services to the property owner or agent. If they fail to make the needed repairs, you should file a maintenance complaint with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and construction-related conditions to the Department of Buildings (DOB).
You should explore legal assistance options, whether or not the harassment involves maintenance or construction issues.