As New York City rent prices continue to increase, the demand for housing has made rent-controlled apartments an even more precious commodity. Indeed, many landlords seeking to earn a sizeable profit in the current sellers’/renter’s market have engaged in “buying out” their tenants’ lease agreements.
In some situations, a buyout can effect a sizeable and worthwhile payout to both the landlord and the tenant. However, there has become an increasing trend of meager buyout offers to lower-income tenants. These paltry offers, if successful, have the potential to displace lower income individuals in the face of New York’s ever increasing rental prices. Furthermore, recent reports have suggested that these buyout offers have been used more as instruments of illegal tenant harassment than simple mutually-beneficial business propositions.
Indeed, in an effort to force tenants to agree to a proposed buyout, some landlords have failed to make repairs, declined to cash rent checks, or threatened illegal evictions. Some landlords have even resorted to hiring “relocation specialists,” who receive compensation for each vacancy they successfully procure by way of their own methods.
As such it is important that all New York City tenants be aware that a number of city and state laws prohibit conduct intended to force tenants to vacate an apartment or waive their tenancy rights. Furthermore, a 2008 New York City law specifically bans landlords from interrupting essential services, initiating baseless eviction proceedings, or locking out a tenant.
If you or a loved one are feel that your rights as a lawful tenant have been threatened or violated, contact Tanya Hobson-Williams, P.C. to learn about the protections available to you under New York State Law.