Four New York City landlords recently sued the city, saying they should be removed from a city program that forces them to prove that their tenants were not harassed.
The landlords say the program, the Certificate of No Harassment Pilot Program Building List, is “mired in secrecy” and prevents them from receiving the building permits they must have to make major alterations or demolish their buildings. The property owners say they have not been provided with evidence that any of their tenants have complained of harassment or complaints about their properties' condition.
Landlords can be placed in the program if a tenant claims to have been harassed or if the property is determined to be severely distressed. Once in the program, the property owner must either receive a certificate saying they did not harass tenants or agree to set aside 25 percent of their apartments for low-income residents. A property owner who does not have the certificate or agrees to set aside one-fourth of their property for low-income tenants cannot be issued the building permits necessary to make major changes.
The city started the program in 2018 and is scheduled to be in place until September 2026. More than 1,000 properties are currently on the list, mostly due to their scores on the Building Qualification Index, a metric used to determine the property's condition.
Without certificates, the owners say they are being unjustly limited in how they can use and profit from their investments. Further, they say that the city has not provided them with a reason for why they were added to the list in the first place,
Landlords buy rental properties intending to make a profit. Managing properties takes investment and effort, and landlords would not expose themselves to the work or risk unless they stood to be compensated for their work. These landlords had no other recourse but to sue.
If you own real estate in New York City and feel your rights as a property owner are being infringed upon by laws or policies, you may have no other option but to sue. With decades of experience in New York real estate law, the law offices of Melvin Monachan can help you evaluate your options and your way forward. Call us today at (347) 389-1682 or contact us online.