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NYC landlord, tenants settle case of alleged tenant harassment

In New York, landlords and tenants both have certain rights and protections under the law. These rights and protections help ensure that the landlord-tenant relationship operates as smoothly as possible. However, sometimes, landlord-tenant disputes arise when one party does not comply with the requirements of his or her role.

Recently, a New York City landlord agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle a case of alleged tenant harassment. The case arose when tenants in one of the landlord's East Village buildings sued him and a property manager in New York City's Housing Court. The tenants claimed that the defendants acted illegally in pressuring them to vacate the building.

The tenants contended that the landlord's agent, in an effort to force the tenants to vacate the six-story, 16-unit walk-up apartment building, told them that rent would soon skyrocket, that the police were investigating both prostitution and drug use in the building and that demolition of the neighboring building would disrupt their residence. Tenants recorded some of these conversations. The landlord fired his property manager, who he blamed for the tenants' allegations, after the lawsuit was filed.

The judge handling the lawsuit ordered the landlord to stop all construction work in the building last year. Currently, the New York Homes and Community Renewal's tenant protection unit and the New York Attorney General's office have an ongoing investigation into the tenants' claims of harassment.

Tenants may not be harassed into an eviction. A tenant who has faced harassment from a landlord may wish to consult with an attorney to discuss potential legal recourse.

Source: The Real Deal, "Toledano to pay $1M-plus in settlement of EV tenant harassment suit," Mark Maurer, May 16, 2016

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