Yesterday, Mayor de Blasio signed a bill into law making it official policy to post the names of landlords who harass their tenants online.
Taking a page from his days as a public advocate, the policy recalls his Worst Landlords Watchlist. That was not an official effort, but the new list will be posted on the Department of Housing Preservation and Development’s website.
Under the new law, any landlord convicted of violating the 2008 anti-harassment law will have their name permanently added to the list and face a fine of up to $10,000 which doubles the previous maximum penalty.
The anti-harassment law prohibits landlords from using tactics like shutting off your utilities to force you to move out. Landlords will often try to clear out tenants in order to raise rents or empty a building to renovate/sell it. They frequently ignore the law because the fines are small and renters are unlikely to gamble on court fees. Officials hope that putting a landlord’s reputation on the line will have a greater effect.
Councilwoman Margaret Chin tells the New York Times:
A lot of them have investors, and the investors would have to ask, ‘Is this a good guy?’ This is to get it on the record who the bad actors are.
Investors probably care more about whether “the guy” can make them money, but at least the de Blasio administration is following through with some promised reforms. (Photo: @zachvs)