It is estimated that over 45 percent of New York’s senior citizens have been in their homes for decades. Most of these seniors are housed in rent-regulated apartments and recently, it has come to light that many landlords have engaged in unfair and cruel practices in an attempt to get rid of long-term tenants and make more money. The claims of such mistreatment of senior citizens began to multiply in 2013 and as a result a bill has been introduced in the New York City Council that will increase penalties of such behavior and hopefully send a message to the landlords of New York City.
The bill, which was introduced early in 2014, sets to double the maximum civil penalty to $10,000 for property owners who abuse seniors. The legislation would also place such property owners on a black list maintained by the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
City Councilwoman Margaret Chin, who sponsored the legislation, said that most elder abuse comes in the form of cutting heat or hot water, refusing necessary repairs on apartments and/or constant harassment.
As many as 120,000 senior residents (12 percent of the city’s elderly population) suffer abuse annually, according to 2011 data from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Such a bill can be an important step in the right direction and will demonstrate that such mistreatment by landlords will not be tolerated.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of unfair treatment by your landlord, it is crucial to contact an attorney and understand your rights. A skilled attorney can afford you the representation you deserve and ensure your legal rights as a tenant are being protected.