The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council

Step 3: Build your case
Posted: June 5, 2017 - 9:19am

Tenant harassment is illegal. Don’t let your landlord get away with it.

What is tenant harassment?

Tenant harassment is what happens when building owners attempt to force tenants to leave their apartments or surrender their rights. Harassment can include:

  • Not offering a lease or a renewal of a lease
  • Offering money for a tenant to leave his or her apartment in a way that is intimidating, fails to inform the tenant of his or her rights, or happens after the tenant has stated he or she is not interested in such an offer
  • Presenting unjustified eviction notices, or locking a tenant out of his or her apartment
  • Making threats to force a tenant to leave an apartment or give up his or her rights
  • Overcharging for a rent regulated apartment
  • Failing to provide necessary repairs or utilities
  • Deliberately causing construction-related problems for tenants, such as working after hours, blocking entrances, or failing to remove excessive dust or debris

These and other forms of tenant harassment are illegal in New York City. (HPD has more information about what to do if you face harassment from your landlord here.)

Over the past ten years, New York City’s affordable housing market has been severely destabilized by private (predatory) equity companies. These companies purchase rent stabilized buildings at inflated prices without an understanding of the New York City housing market or the laws that protect tenants. They attempt to maximize the return on their investments by aggressively pushing rent stabilized tenants out using a wide range of harassing techniques, some even illegal, including frivolous lawsuits and failing to provide heat and other basic services. They then attempt to lease the vacated apartments to other tenants for a higher rent.

Keep records

It’s important to document all instances of harassment you experience, such as if the landlord:

  • raises your rent illegally or tacks illegal fees on to your rent
  • fails to provide heat, water, power or other basic services
  • refuses to make necessary repairs to your apartment
  • allows the building’s common areas to deteriorate into poor physical condition

PHNDC is partnering with, a free web and mobile service that enables tenants to document issues of harassment, non-repair and poor physical conditions in their homes, making it easier to build a case that can compel a landlord to respond. Click here to learn how to sign up for


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