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Harassment of Rent Regulated Tenants

As a New York landlord there is nothing more frustrating and difficult than trying to increase the rent of a rent regulated unit to the point where it is profitable. Attempts to make capital improvements to the apartment are often met with hostility from the tenant. Attempts to find lease violations or prosecute a lawsuit against the tenant will sometimes fail to have them evicted. Even if the tenant fails to pay, they potentially can rely on a one shot deal to pay their rent. Even if the tenant does not have a one shot deal available the eviction process can be dragged out for what seems like an eternity. It is costly and difficult.

It is even more difficult to deal with removing rent regulated tenants when you want to build a better and more profitable structure on your property. It’s your property, so why can’t you sell it or bulldoze it to build something better? Frustration can turn into anger, and a landlord may engage in a course of conduct that they may later regret. Harassment of rent regulated tenants is a crime in New York.

If you are being prosecuted for harassment of a rent regulated tenant call our experienced New York landlord-tenant and criminal attorneys today.

Codified at New York Penal Law 241.05, harassment of a rent regulated tenant in the first degree occurs when:

  1. When intending to cause a rent regulated tenant to quit their apartment, an owner:
    1. intentionally physically injures the tenant or a third person; or
    2. with intentional disregard for grave risk to the tenant a landlord physically harms the tenant or a third person, or
  2. When an owner acts a proscribed manner, repeatedly, and over time to cause two or more rent regulated tenants living in different units to quit their apartment in a way that:
    1. makes occupying the unit impossible because the conditions are uninhabitable; or
    2. creates dangerous condition for one or more of the people who live in the unit; or
    3. will predictably be annoying and interfere with the tenant’s quiet comfort and peace of their apartment; or
  3. The owner has been convicted of harassment of a rent regulated tenant in the second degree within the past five years and they are convicted a second time.

Harassment of a rent regulated tenant in the first degree is a class E felony with a maximum penalty of up to 4 years in prison.

There are legal means to increase the rent in your rent regulated unit that do not require anything illegal. Although it may be very frustrating to not rent a unit at market rate, while other landlords grow wealthier, the means of evicting a holdout rent regulated tenant should absolutely, and under no uncertain circumstances never be taken into one’s own hands.

No matter how bad the problems you have with your rent regulated tenant, you should always consult an attorney before taking any action against the rent regulated tenant. Should you be arrested and sent to jail or prison, there maybe nobody to collect rent in your building or enforce leases at all, which is, of course, a worst case scenario.

If you are having trouble dealing with a rent regulated tenant or improving the value of your rent regulated units call our experienced New York landlord-tenant attorneys, before you take measures into your own hands. If you have been arrested for harassment of a rent regulated tenant in the first degree our experienced New York criminal lawyers may be able to help get your charges dismissed or resolved in a more favorable manner. Call us today for a free consultation.

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