TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the multiple dwelling law, in relation
to prohibiting the owner, agent or operator of a multiple dwelling
from hiring as a building superintendent, managing agent, or resident
manager any person who is registered as a level two or level three sex
offender in New York state, and to amend the real property law, in
relation to providing that sexual harassment of a tenant by any owner,
agent or operator of a multiple dwelling or any employee or contractor
of such owner, agent or operator constitutes a violation of the
warranty of habitability
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To forbid owners of multiple
dwellings from hiring dangerous sex offenders as building
superintendents or property managers; 'to permit tenants to refuse
access to registered sex offenders who may be employed by a building
owner; and to provide that sexual harassment of a tenant by any
building owner or agent thereof constitutes a violation of the
warranty of habitability.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section 1: Amends the multiple dwelling law by adding a new section
309-b, to require that an owner or operator of a multiple dwelling
shall not hire as a building superintendent, managing agent, or
resident manager any person who is registered as a level two or level
three sex offender in New York state; provides that no tenant shall be
required to give .access to his or her apartment to any person who is
a registered sex offender.
Section 2: Amends the real property law by adding a new section 235-h,
to provide that it shall be unlawful and shall constitute a violation
of the warranty of habitability for any owner, agent, or operator of a
multiple dwelling or any employee or contractor of such owner, agent,
or operator to subject any tenant of the building to sexual
harassment. Defines "tenant" and "sexual harassment" as used in this
section and explains the process by which tenants may apply to the
Supreme Court to seek a restraining or similar order in the case of
Further stipulates that the powers and remedies set forth in this
section shall be in addition to all other powers and remedies in
relation to sexual harassment including the award of damages and do
not limit or restrict existing local laws, ordinance, or provisions of
New York City's administrative code. Any agreement by a tenant in a
written lease or other rental agreement waiving or modifying his or
her rights as set forth in this section shall be void as contrary to
JUSTIFICATION: Current laws and regulations require tenants in New
York City and other jurisdictions to allow landlords access to their
apartments, subject to certain restrictions, and permit landlords to
seek eviction of tenants who unreasonably refuse such access (HMC
27-2008; 28 RCNY § 25-101; 9 NYCRR § 2524.3 (e); NYCAC § 26-408 (a)
(6); 9 NYCRR § 2204.2 (a) (6)).
Additionally, the multiple dwelling law requires tenants who install
their own locks to provide landlords with duplicate keys upon request
(Multiple Dwelling Law § 51-c).
In practice, landlords may designate building superintendents,
property managers, contractors, or other individuals to enter tenants'
apartments for inspections or repairs, and/or to have possession of
keys to residents' apartments. Tenants may have little or no
information as to the identity and background of the people to whom
they are required to allow access, and could be subject to eviction
for "unreasonable" refusal to provide access should they object to the
entry of an owner's agent. In these circumstances, tenants are
vulnerable to the possibility that they may be required to provide
access to persons who are sex offenders.
New York and other states have developed sex offender registration
systems in order to provide the public and the police with information
about the location of individuals who have been convicted of rape,
sexual assault, and other sex offenses, as well as the risk that any
particular offender might re-offend. However, many tenants do not
regularly search the New York State Sex Offender Registry;
additionally, some contractors or other agents employed by landlords
may not appear in the database as being in proximity to the buildings
in which they are doing work. What is more, landlords may use the
threat of eviction to compel tenants to provide access even to persons
who are known sex offenders.
For these reasons, it is important that the burden of ensuring that
dangerous sex offenders are not employed so as to be able to gain
access to tenants' apartments be placed on the landlords who might
employ them. This legislation would forbid landlords from employing as
superintendents, property managers, or other agents any level two or
level three registered sex offenders. Additionally, it would permit
tenants to deny access to any registered sex offenders without fear of
eviction or other sanction.
While current law forbids landlords from harassing tenants, whether
through physical or verbal abuse, willful denial of services, or
multiple instances of frivolous litigation, it does not specifically
protect tenants from sexual harassment by landlords or their agents.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other
verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature can be used to victimize
tenants and to force them from their apartments. By defining sexual
harassment as a breach of the warranty of habitability, this
legislation gives tenants recourse against such behavior, allowing
them to sue landlords who commit or allow their agents to commit
sexually harassing acts.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010 - S.6760 Referred to Housing- A.9858
Referred to Codes 2012 - S.987 Referred to Housing Committee
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 180 days after it shall have become law.