Tenant Harassment

It is illegal for building owners to force tenants to leave their apartments or surrender their rights. If you are a tenant in an apartment in the City who is being harassed by your landlord, you can get information and help.  If you are a low income tenant and/or a senior, you may be eligible for free or low-cost legal assistance.

Harassment Can Include

  • Not offering leases or lease renewals, or repeatedly trying to pay you to move out of your home or to give up your rights ("a buyout") if you are a rent-regulated tenant.
  • Offering you a buyout:
    • While threatening you, intimidating you or using obscene language.
    • By contacting you at your place of employment without obtaining your written permission.
    • While providing false information in connection with the buyout offer.
  • Contacting you about a buyout unless they provide you with the following information in writing:
    • The purpose of the contact and that the contact is on behalf of the owner.
    • That you can reject the offer and continue to live in your home.
    • That you have a right to seek advice from a lawyer and may seek information on the HPD website about legal services.
    • That, if you advise the owner in writing that you do not want to be contacted about any buyout offer, the owner cannot contact you about it for 180 days unless you advise the owner in writing at some earlier time that you are interested in discussing a buyout, or unless the Court permits the owner to discuss a buyout offer with you.
  • Contacting you about a buyout offer for 180 days after you have notified the owner in writing that you do not want to be contacted about it.
  • Unjustified eviction notices or illegal lockouts.
  • Threats and intimidation, such as late-night phone calls including phone calls to encourage or ask you to move out of your home or give up your rights..
  • Overcharging for a rent-regulated apartment.
  • Failure 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.

Seek Legal Assistance

Contact the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force (THPT).

Mayor de Blasio has created a program to provide legal assistance to low-income tenants who are being harassed by landlords who are trying to take advantage of zoning changes by getting rid of tenants. If you are a resident in one of the following Zip codes, you can call the New York City Tenant Protection Hotline at (917) 661-4505, Mon – Fri: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM:

Bronx: Zip Codes 10452 and 10453
Brooklyn: Zip codes 11207, 11208, 11212, and 11233
Manhattan: Zip codes 10029 and 10035
Queens: Zip codes 11101, 11354, and 11358
Staten Island: Zip codes 10301 and 10304

New York City also continues to provide free legal service assistance for qualified tenants throughout the City. Residents can call the following legal service providers for more information:

  • Legal Aid Society: (212) 577-3300
  • Legal Services NYC: (917) 661-4500
  • Urban Justice Center: (646) 459-3017

More information about Legal Assistance.

Housing Court Answers hotline also provides information about Court procedures, landlord/tenant rules and regulations, enforcement of housing code violations, referrals for free legal help, and referrals to community organizations that help with housing problems. HCA is open from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Thursday, and can be reached at 212-962-4795.

Report an Issue

Report dangerous conditions or lack of services through 311. City agencies will protect tenant rights by enforcing building and housing code compliance, conducting inspections, and issuing violations when appropriate. Tenants can use the reporting of a complaint and issuance of any subsequent violations to support either a Housing Court or State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR) action regarding harassment. 

If a court of competent jurisdiction finds harassment, the court may issue an order restraining the owner of the property from continuing to harass the tenant. A civil penalty of $1,000-$10,000 may be imposed for each dwelling unit in which a tenant or any person lawfully entitled to occupancy of such unit has been harassed. If the tenant/legal occupant establishes that there was a previous finding of harassment against such owner and the finding was made within the preceding five year period after March 29th, 2015, the court shall impose a civil penalty in an amount between $2,000-$10,000.

Under Local Law 47 of 2014, HPD will post on its website the addresses of buildings where there has been a finding of harassment by a court of competent jurisdiction, when the agency receives such information. The list includes the name of the respondent, the civil penalty imposed in the case, and the date such penalty was imposed.

Report of Harassment Findings