Tenant Harassment Assistance Information

It is illegal for building owners to force tenants to leave their apartments or surrender their rights. If you are tenant in an apartment in New York City who is being harassed by your landlord, you can get information and help. Free legal assistance is available to low-income tenants who are being harassed.

The harassment of tenants can include:
  • Not offering leases or lease renewals.
  • Repeatedly trying to pay you to move out (aka buyouts: rent-regulated tenants can reject buyout offers and continue to live in their home. If you are offered a buyout, there are certain rules that the property owner has to follow when making the offer.)
  • Unjustified eviction notices or illegal lockouts.
  • Threats and intimidation, such as late-night phone calls.
  • Discrimination on the basis of immigration status.
  • Overcharging for a rent-regulated apartment.
  • Repeated interruptions of essential services, such as heat, water, or electricity. 
  • 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.
You should first report apartment and building conditions or lack of services to the property owner or agent. If they fail to make the needed repairs, you should file a maintenance complaint with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and construction-related conditions to the Department of Buildings (DOB).

Some examples include, but are not limited to:

Legal Assistance

You should explore legal assistance options, whether or not the harassment involves maintenance or construction issues.

If you are a low-income tenant in an apartment in New York City who is being harassed by your landlord, you can get free or low-cost legal information and assistance.

Residents of the ZIP codes listed below can get help by calling the New York City Tenant Protection Hotline at (917) 661-4505, Monday to Friday, from 10 AM to 4 PM.

  • Bronx: 10452, 10453, 10457, 10459, and 10460
  • Brooklyn: 11206, 11207, 11208, 11212, 11215, 11217, 11231, 11233, and 11237
  • Manhattan: 10029, 10034, and 10035
  • Queens: 11101, 11354, 11358, 11691, and 11692
  • Staten Island: 10301 and 10304

Residents in all other ZIP code areas within New York City can get help by calling the Legal Aid Society at (212) 577-3300, Legal Services NYC at (917) 661-4500, or the Urban Justice Center at (646) 459-3017.

Illegal Eviction or Lockout

You can report commercial or residential landlords who lock out tenants, or who willfully deprive them of essential services such as electricity, heat, or water.

Only a City Marshal or Sheriff is allowed to carry out a Warrant of Eviction.

Call 911 to report an illegal eviction.

Apartment Condition Harassment

Rental and cooperative building owners must keep your apartment unit and building in livable condition and provide needed repairs. If they don’t, you can report a maintenance problem affecting an apartment, a public area, or an entire building to HPD and you can also report that the property owner is harassing you using these tactics.

Some examples of apartment and building-wide related harassment include:
  • Apartment Maintenance Complaint
  • Building Water Complaint
  • Electrical Complaint
  • Heat or Hot Water Complaint in a Residential Building
  • Mold Complaint
  • Pests
  • Power Outage
Call 311 to report a property owner who is using these methods to harass you to leave your apartment.

Building Construction Harassment

If you are a tenant living in a building while construction work is ongoing, the building’s owner is required to post or distribute a Tenant Protection Plan notice and a Safe Construction Bill of Rights. These notices inform tenants about the permits issued, the work scheduled to be conducted, and amenities or essential service interruptions. 

Also, if you believe the property is not making repairs to the elevator as a means of harassment, you can report that to the Department of Buildings.

Some examples of building construction-related harassment include:
  • Building Construction Complaint
  • Building Demolition Complaint
  • Electrical Complaint
  • Elevator or Escalator Complaint
  • Gas Piping or Hookup Complaint
Call 311 to report a property owner who is using these methods to harass you to leave your apartment.

Housing Court and Tenant-Landlord Disputes

Housing Court provides information about Court procedures, landlord/tenant rules and regulations, enforcement of housing code violations. Housing Court can be reached at 646-386-5750 from Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm.

Rent Regulated Apartments

If you live in a rent-controlled or rent-stabilized apartment, you can get more information and file a harassment complaint with New York State Homes and Community Renewal (NYSHCR) Tenant Protection Unit. You can send an email to TPUinfo@nyshcr.org or submit an inquiry on their website.

New York State Attorney General

File a tenant harassment complaint with the New York State Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection Unit.