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City Council Passes Bills To Protect Tenants Against Harassment

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Tenants protesting landlord treatment.

Tenants will now have greater protections against landlord harassment and living in horrible conditions, thanks to the 18 bills that were passed yesterday, August 9.

Eleven of the bills are a part of the “Stand for Tenant Safety” package. The package includes Intro. 944 which would impose additional penalties for construction work performed without a permit. For those buildings where such work has already been performed, the bill would require increased oversight.

Another bill, Intro. 1523 created by Council Member Helen Rosenthal, requires an office of the tenant advocate be placed within the Department of Buildings (DOB) to monitor complaints.

These bills come after protests from tenant organizations across the city.

Tenants outside 410 E. 17th Street (Photo by Shannon Geis/BKLYNER)

Last year, we reported on Equality For Flatbush marching against tenant abuse. Participating in the march were about 250 angry, passionate people.

In 2015, tenants of 410 E. 17th Street announced they were suing their landlord, Sholom Rubashkin, over the terrible living conditions the tenants have had to deal with for years. According to their lawyer, the tenants have had to deal with lack of heat and water, infestations of vermin, and blocked access to fire escapes, among many more issues.

And the new bills aim to protect just that.

“While many at DOB do important work on behalf of tenants, the bureaucracy just isn’t in pace to make tenants’ voices heard,” Rosenthal said. “This bill will change that, giving tenants a dedicated watchdog and workhorse on their behalf.”

The other bill Rosenthal introduced, Intro. 347, will allow judges from the Housing Court to award damages to tenants that successfully claim they were harassed by their landlords.

Here are the 18 bills and their summaries:

 

 

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