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NY Penal Law § 180.56: Rent gouging in the second degree

In New York it is against the law to require someone to pay an amount in addition to the set rent as consideration for the understanding that by doing so the tenant's or potential tenant's chances for leasing a property or having a lease renewed would increase. This practice is called as rent gouging. Under New York Penal Law § 180.56 you could be charged with rent gouging in the second degree if in connection with renting property you solicit, accept, or agree to accept payment of $250 or more in addition to the set rent with the understanding that such additional payment would boost the possibility that the tenant or potential tenant will receive a lease or have a lease renewed, while failing to pay would decrease the possibility.


Mike Gotham was the owner of an apartment building. He had one apartment available for rent and 5 applications. All 5 applicants were qualified. Gotham suggested to one of the applicants that if he paid an additional $500, Gotham would award him the lease. The applicant declined to make the payment, and Gotham gave the apartment to another person. Even though the applicant did not pay the $500, Gotham could still face a charge of rent gouging in the second degree since he did solicit the payment.

Related Offenses
  1. Rent gouging in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 180.55
  2. Rent gouging in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 180.57

In order for you to be guilty of rent gouging in the second degree, the prosecutor must be able to show that you solicited or accepted extra payment from a tenant or potential tenant in the amount of at least $250 to increase the possibility that they would receive a lease or a lease renewal. If the payment was less than $250, or if it was made for another, legal reason, then you would not have committed rent gouging in the second degree.


Rent gouging in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a jail term of up to 1 year, a probation term of 3 years, payment of restitution, and payment of a fine.

New York Penal Law § 180.56: Rent gouging in the second degree

A person is guilty of rent gouging in the second degree when, in connection with the leasing, rental or use of real property, he solicits, accepts or agrees to accept from a person some consideration of value, of two hundred fifty dollars or more, in addition to lawful rental and other lawful charges, upon an agreement or understanding that the furnishing of such consideration will increase the possibility that any person may obtain or renew the lease, rental or use of such property, or that a failure to furnish it will decrease the possibility that any person may obtain or renew the same.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you have been charged with rent gouging in the second degree, it is important that you immediately contact someone with experience. Even though rent gouging in the second degree is a misdemeanor and not a felony, if you are convicted you could still end up in jail for up to a year. 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 misdemeanors and felonies such as rent gouging assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, stalking, rape, and child endangerment. Contact us at 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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