senate Bill S1744

Establishes additional causes of action under harassment of a rent regulated tenant; creates harassment of a rent regulated tenant in the second degree

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 09 / Jan / 2013
    • REFERRED TO CODES
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO CODES

Summary

Establishes additional causes of action under harassment of a rent regulated tenant; creates harassment of a rent regulated tenant in the second degree; creates quality affordable housing preservation fund; makes certain provisions of the rent regulation reform act of 1997 permanent.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A809
Versions:
S1744
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Codes
Law Section:
Penal Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §241.05, add §241.10, Pen L; add §99-u, St Fin L; amd §46, Chap 116 of 1997
Versions Introduced in 2011-2012 Legislative Cycle:
S5251, A8232

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1744

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the penal law, in relation to harassment of a rent
regulated tenant in the first and second degree; to amend the state
finance law, in relation to establishing the "quality affordable
housing preservation fund"; and to amend the rent regulation reform
act of 1997, in relation to making certain provisions permanent

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
This bill amends Section 241.05 of the penal law, as added by chapter
116 of the laws of 1997, with regard to the harassment of rent
regulated tenants in the first and second degree; amends the state
finance law by establishing a dedicated fund for "quality affordable
housing preservation funds"; and amending the rent regulation reform
act of 1997, rendering it permanent.

Amends Section 241.05 adding paragraphs 3 and 4 by defining actions
that violate the provisions of Section 241.10 that constitute
harassment in the first degree, a class E felony, following a
landlord or his/her authorized representative having received
complaints on three successive occasions of conditions, conduct or
circumstances which recklessly cause Physical injury to a third
person, tenant or tenants.

The amended Section 241.10 defines harassment in the second degree
with the intent to cause a tenant to vacate a rent regulated housing
accommodation by knowingly or recklessly creating or maintaining
conditions that endanger the health and safety of a tenant or
tenants, who after three successive complaints have been ignored
with regard to the conditions cited in the complaints. Section 241.10
is amended to include punitive fines of three thousand dollars for
each offense. Section 3 amends the state finance law establishing a
dedicated Quality affordable housing preservation fund in the custody
of DHCR and the State comptroller wherein the fines are to be
deposited.

JUSTIFICATION:
Poverty dictates housing choices, as such available and affordable
housing for low-income families is generally found in communities
with the oldest housing, the greatest need for improvements,
rehabilitation and code compliance. Therefore, it is in this type of
housing where maintenance has been deferred. As a consequence low-
and moderate-income children are more likely to live in older
deteriorated housing with lead Paint hazards, mold, vermin; multiple
code violations which if left
unchecked can significantly affect the health and threaten the lives
of the tenants. Millions of New Yorkers live in housing with
conditions that compromise the health or safety of an individual
tenant or a considerable number of persons. In order to motivate rent
regulated tenants into vacating their units, intentional negligence,
detachment and overt actions by landlords or their representatives
have created such conditions. Ordering that garbage not be removed;
ignoring requests to address leaks that precipitate mold; not
treating units to discourage vermin and rodent infestation; and


broken windows or windows without guards, all contribute to long-term
illness, high health costs, and potential fatalities. This same holds
true for landlords or their representatives who allow individuals
involved in illegal activities or in the distribution or sale of
controlled substances to congregate in communal areas of a property
so as to threaten the health and well-being of tenants and as a
tactical means intimidating tenants to vacate rent regulated units.

Mold, vermin and rodent infestations are major contributors to the
asthma epidemic that afflicts 500,000 New York City low-income Latino
and African-American residents of the City of New York, the majority
of whom are children, to suffer disproportionally. According to the
NYC Department of Mental Health and Hygiene the trigger effects of
these conditions result in thousands of visits to hospital emergency
rooms each year due to chronic lung inflammation and airway
tightening resulting in coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
The department cites asthma as the leading cause of hospitalization
of children and missed school days and one in four children. Over one
hundred seventy-five landlords have become repeat offenders of
conditions that are the petri dish for asthma and resulted in New
York City having the highest incidents of asthma in the nation.

Hundreds of children are hurt or killed by falls that might have been
prevented by window guards. However, many landlords fail to give
tenants the forms that determine whether the apartment must have
window guards. By law, forms headed NOTICE TO TENANT OR OCCUPANT or
WINDOW GUARDS REQUIRED (which inform landlord that the window must
have window guards) be filled within 30 days of when the tenant
starts renting, and every year after that between January 1 and 16
(or with the January rent bill) lease.

While lead abatement has been required by law since 1982, hundreds of
New York City children and elderly living in pre-War housing are
subject the dangers posed by peeling and chipped lead paint and the
potential brain damage brought about by elevated blood lead levels.

This law will ensure that landlords or their representatives accept
accountability and responsibility for removing conditions, the
presence of which, if ignored through negligence can result in
illness, long term disability or death.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Immediately.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:;
Generation of revenue to support enforcement and housing preservation
activities.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  1744

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 9, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced by Sen. ESPAILLAT -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes

AN ACT to amend the penal law, in relation to harassment of a rent regu-
  lated  tenant  in  the  first  and  second  degree; to amend the state
  finance law, in relation to establishing the "quality affordable hous-
  ing preservation fund"; and to amend the rent regulation reform act of
  1997, in relation to making certain provisions permanent

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 241.05 of the penal law, as added by chapter 116 of
the laws of 1997, is amended to read as follows:
S 241.05 Harassment of a rent regulated tenant IN THE FIRST DEGREE.
  An  owner  is  guilty  of harassment of a rent regulated tenant IN THE
FIRST DEGREE when with intent to cause a rent regulated tenant to vacate
a housing accommodation, such owner OR HIS OR HER REPRESENTATIVE:
  1. With intent to cause physical injury to such tenant  OR  INTIMIDATE
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[.];
  3.  ENGAGES  IN CONDUCT THAT VIOLATES THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 241.10
OF THIS ARTICLE AND THE HEALTH OR SAFETY OF AN INDIVIDUAL OR A CONSIDER-
ABLE NUMBER OF PERSONS HAVE BEEN COMPROMISED AS A RESULT OF THE OWNER OR
HIS OR HER REPRESENTATIVE'S FAILURE  TO  REMEDIATE  IMPROPER  CONDITIONS
AFTER  RECEIVING THREE OR MORE COMPLAINTS FROM A TENANT OR TENANTS RELA-
TIVE TO THOSE CONDITIONS; OR
  4. CONDUCTS OR MAINTAINS ANY PREMISES, HOUSING UNITS, PLACE OR  COMMON
AREAS WHERE PERSONS GATHER FOR PURPOSES OF ENGAGING IN UNLAWFUL CONDUCT.
  Harassment of a rent regulated tenant IN THE FIRST DEGREE is a class E
felony.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD05032-01-3

S. 1744                             2

  S  2.  The penal law is amended by adding a new section 241.10 to read
as follows:
S 241.10 HARASSMENT OF A RENT REGULATED TENANT IN THE SECOND DEGREE.
  1.  AN OWNER IS GUILTY OF HARASSMENT OF A RENT REGULATED TENANT IN THE
SECOND DEGREE WHEN WITH INTENT TO  CAUSE  A  RENT  REGULATED  TENANT  TO
VACATE  A HOUSING ACCOMMODATION, SUCH OWNER OR HIS OR HER REPRESENTATIVE
ENGAGES IN CONDUCT EITHER UNLAWFUL OR  UNREASONABLE  UNDER  THE  CIRCUM-
STANCES,  KNOWINGLY  OR  RECKLESSLY  CREATES OR MAINTAINS A CONDITION(S)
WHICH ENDANGER(S) THE SAFETY OR HEALTH OF AN INDIVIDUAL OR  A  CONSIDER-
ABLE NUMBER OF PERSONS AND THE TENANT OR TENANTS HAVE NOTIFIED THE LAND-
LORD  ON  THREE  SUCCESSIVE  OCCASIONS  AND SUCH OWNER OR REPRESENTATIVE
IGNORES COMPLAINTS RELATIVE TO THOSE CONDITIONS.
  2. ANY PERSON WHO VIOLATES THE PROVISIONS OF  THIS  SECTION  SHALL  BE
GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR, AND UPON CONVICTION THEREOF SHALL PAY A FINE OF
THREE  THOUSAND  DOLLARS  FOR  EACH  OFFENSE.  NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER
PROVISION OF LAW TO THE  CONTRARY,  FINES  COLLECTED  PURSUANT  TO  THIS
SECTION SHALL BE DEPOSITED INTO THE QUALITY AFFORDABLE HOUSING PRESERVA-
TION  FUND  ESTABLISHED  PURSUANT  TO SECTION NINETY-NINE-U OF THE STATE
FINANCE LAW FOR THE INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF CRIMES  UNDER  THIS
ARTICLE.
  HARASSMENT OF A RENT REGULATED TENANT IN THE SECOND DEGREE IS A MISDE-
MEANOR.
  S  3. The state finance law is amended by adding a new section 99-u to
read as follows:
  S 99-U. QUALITY AFFORDABLE HOUSING  PRESERVATION  FUND.  1.  THERE  IS
HEREBY ESTABLISHED IN THE JOINT CUSTODY OF THE STATE COMPTROLLER AND THE
COMMISSIONER  OF HOUSING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL A FUND TO BE KNOWN AS THE
"QUALITY AFFORDABLE HOUSING PRESERVATION FUND".
  2. SUCH FUND SHALL CONSIST OF ALL MONEYS  COLLECTED  PURSUANT  TO  THE
PROVISIONS  OF SECTIONS 241.05 AND 241.10 OF THE PENAL LAW AND ALL OTHER
MONEYS APPROPRIATED, CREDITED, OR TRANSFERRED  THERETO  FROM  ANY  OTHER
FUND  OR SOURCE PURSUANT TO LAW. NOTHING CONTAINED IN THIS SECTION SHALL
PREVENT THE STATE FROM RECEIVING  GRANTS,  GIFTS  OR  BEQUESTS  FOR  THE
PURPOSES OF THE FUND AS DEFINED IN THIS SECTION AND DEPOSITING THEM INTO
THE  FUND  ACCORDING TO LAW. ANY INTEREST RECEIVED BY THE COMPTROLLER ON
MONEYS ON DEPOSIT IN SUCH FUND SHALL BE RETAINED IN AND BECOME  PART  OF
SUCH FUND.
  3.  MONEYS OF THIS ACCOUNT SHALL BE AVAILABLE TO THE DIVISION OF HOUS-
ING AND COMMUNITY RENEWAL TO PAY FOR  THE  COSTS  OF  INVESTIGATING  AND
PROSECUTING  VIOLATIONS  OF  ARTICLE  TWO HUNDRED FORTY-ONE OF THE PENAL
LAW.
  4. ALL PAYMENTS FROM THE FUND SHALL BE MADE ON THE AUDIT  AND  WARRANT
OF THE COMPTROLLER.
  S  4.  Subdivision 6 of section 46 of chapter 116 of the laws of 1997,
constituting the rent regulation reform  act  of  1997,  as  amended  by
section  6  of  part  B of chapter 97 of the laws of 2011, is amended to
read as follows:
  6. sections [twenty-eight,] twenty-eight-a, twenty-eight-b  and  twen-
ty-eight-c  of  this  act shall expire and be deemed repealed after June
15, 2015;
  S 5. This  act  shall  take  effect  immediately;  provided,  however,
sections one, two and three of this act shall take effect on the nineti-
eth day after it shall have become a law.

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