While The Avengers rampage rampage gloriously across the screen, on NYC’s streets some real life avengers are letting their capes flap in the breeze as they go after the baddies. The baddies in this case being landlords who harass rent stabilized tenants so badly they leave their apartments thus allowing the landlords to relet them at higher prices.
Past efforts to protect tenants have been stymied by overlapping and conflciting responsibilities split up between NYC and New York State. But a new ‘Tenant Harassment Protection Task Force’ has now swung into action and has just carried out their first raids at 22 Spring and 102 Norfolk Streets.
The Task Force’s job is to stop the illegal efforts of a well known group of landlords. The usual approach these landlords make to their tenants is to say renovations are needed and then to cut off water, gas and heat, rip out toilets and stoves and then apartments in such back repair that tenants can’t stay there because what has been their home is now unliveable. In the past it took so long to deal with these violations that tenants were forced to go elsewhere just in order to have somewhere to live.
The Housing Court was often the place where these disputes ended up but so many complaints were made the court had almost stopped functioning the backlog was so bad. With this new approach it will be possible to work who is doing what to whom, where and when and seriously cut down on the court’s work and waiting times by having complaints resolved quickly.
Go in there and get ‘em caped crusaders. Everyone has rights, including landlords. But landlords have lawyers to look after them. Instead of having to fight their own battles, tenants whose haven’t been treated fairly now have people who can put a strong, calm arm around their shoulders to make sure justice is done and to stop unfair bullying.