New York Penal Law § 241.05: Harassment of a rent regulated tenant

Some landlords try to force tenants of rent stabilized apartments to move so that they can get new tenants and charge higher rent. However, in doing so such landlords may be violating a law that prohibits the harassment of rent regulated tenants. Examples of strategies that landlords use to harass tenants include threatening them, cursing at them, phoning them in the middle of the night, following them, and presenting them with false information to persuade buyout. In other cases the landlords cut off essential services such as the heat or water. Under New York Penal Law § 241.05 you could be charged with harassment of a rent regulated tenant if you are an owner and with the intent to cause a rent regulated tenant to move you:

  1. Intend to physically harm that tenant and you in fact cause physical injury to the tenant, or
  2. Recklessly cause physical injury to that tenant or to a third person.

It is a felony.

Example

Robert purchased an apartment building last year. Most of the tenants were in rent controlled units. In an effort to force the tenants to move Robert cut off the heat in the winter and destroyed common spaces. Robert could be charged with several crimes including harassment of a rent regulated tenant.

Related Offenses
  1. Harassment in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 240.25
  2. Harassment in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 240.26
Defenses

If you used lawful means to evict a tenant for violation of the terms of a lease of a rent regulated tenant, then you would not have committed harassment of a rent regulated tenant.

Sentence

Harassment of a rent regulated tenant is a class E felony. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a prison term of up to 4 years, a probation term of 5 years, and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 241.05: Harassment of a rent regulated tenant

An owner is guilty of harassment of a rent regulated tenant when with intent to cause a rent regulated tenant to vacate a housing accommodation, such owner:

  1. With intent to cause physical injury to such tenant, causes such injury to such tenant or to a third person; or
  2. Recklessly causes physical injury to such tenant or to a third person.
Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

Harassment of a rent regulated tenant is a serious crime. The penalty for committing this crime is that you could be sent to prison for up to 4 years. If you are under investigation for committing this crime, it is important that you are represented by someone with experience to ensure that your rights are protected. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with felonies and misdemeanors. Contact us at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of larceny in the following locations: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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