senate Bill S3163

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Establishes it shall be unlawful for a person to have his or her application to rent or lease a residence to be denied due to prior housing court proceedings

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


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

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Actions

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to judiciary
Jan 31, 2013 referred to judiciary

Co-Sponsors

S3163 - Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A3691
Current Committee:
Senate Judiciary
Law Section:
Real Property Law
Laws Affected:
Add §235-h, RP L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S457, A4203
2009-2010: S3856B, A3243A

S3163 - Bill Texts

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Establishes it shall be unlawful for a person to have his or her application to rent or lease a residence to be denied due to a previous housing court proceeding; allows a person aggrieved to maintain a civil action.

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BILL NUMBER:S3163

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the real property law, in relation to
prohibiting certain prior housing court proceedings from being consid-
ered by landlords in the lease of property for residential purposes

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To protect tenants from discrimination
based on prior landlord-tenant litigation, or tenant screening reports,
when applying for new housing.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section one of the bill states the underlying legislative findings:
that some landlords discriminate against some prospective tenants based
on prior landlord-tenant litigation or based on tenant screening reports
that are used to blacklist some tenants.

Section 2 of the bill adds a new section 235-h to the Real Property Law
("RPL"). New RPL section 235-h(1) defines the following terms: housing
accommodation, tenant screening report, person, and consumer reporting
agency. New RPL section 235-h(2) makes it an unlawful practice to refuse
to rent residential units based on information obtained from tenant
screening reports or based on prior landlord-tenant litigation, or facts
derived from such litigation, unless the tenant had a warrant of
eviction issued against him or her and did not voluntarily enter into an
agreement that would allow the warrant of eviction to be issued. New RPL
section 235-h(3) allows aggrieved tenants to sue for injunctive relief,
damages, costs and fees.

Section 3 establishes that this act shall take effect immediately.

JUSTIFICATION: Landlords typically review prospective tenants' back-
ground in order to evaluate their desirability as tenants. In addition
to credit history and income, landlords also examine court history. In
fact, an entire industry, comprised of so-called tenant screening
bureaus or tenant screening companies, has been created in order to
provide landlords with information on tenants, and these companies often
provide a tenant's court history. Unfortunately, these companies are not
necessarily thorough, and they do not always include the outcome of a
tenant's court case. Tenants who have appeared in court cases relating
to landlord-tenant disputes, and who might have won their cases or
settled out of court, still find their applications for new housing
rejected, simply based on their prior appearances in court.

This bill would make it unlawful for landlords to consider a tenant's
history in court cases that arise from landlord-tenant disputes, unless
that tenant was evicted against his or her will. This would ensure that
appearance in court in and of itself would not prevent a tenant from
obtaining new housing. Lawyers involved in housing court cases report
that there are 375,000 housing court cases a year in New York State, and
only 25,000 result in warrants of eviction. That means that there are

potentially 350,000 residents of New York State who are suffering
because the law does not prevent landlords from discriminating against
them. The bill would continue to permit the use of prior litigation
history that resulted in a contested (i.e., non-consented to) eviction,
following a court ruling in favor of a petitioner-landlord, thus allow-
ing legitimate use of a relatively small number of cases, while prevent-
ing discrimination based on cases that did not have such a result.

Additionally, this bill would eliminate a threat that landlords can use
against their tenants. Currently, tenants who may wish to sue their
landlord - over a failure to deliver services, harassment, or any other
number of reasons - may be unwise to do so, simply because their
involvement in housing court can be used adversely against them in the
future, Similarly, landlords who wish to exercise control over their
tenants can threaten to sue to evict them, knowing full well that even
if they lose the case, they have caused irreparable harm to the tenants'
ability to find new housing. Tenants should not feel that they are
unable to exercise their rights by appearing in court, and landlords
should not be able to manipulate the judicial system to intimidate their
tenants. This bill would prevent both of these phenomena, and would also
allow tenants who have appeared in court, but have not been evicted
against their will, from suffering unreasonable hardship.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2009/2010: S.3856B/A.3243A 2011/2012: S.457/A4203

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.

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

                                  3163

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 31, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. KRUEGER, SERRANO -- read twice and ordered printed,
  and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary

AN ACT to amend the  real  property  law,  in  relation  to  prohibiting
  certain prior housing court proceedings from being considered by land-
  lords in the lease of property for residential purposes

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

  Section 1. Legislative intent. The legislature hereby finds that  some
landlords  refuse  to  offer available units because prospective tenants
have previously been party to  a  judicial  proceeding  arising  from  a
dispute  between  themselves  and  a prior landlord, and also finds that
tenant screening reports are also being used by some landlords to  inap-
propriately   blacklist  some  prospective  tenants.    The  legislature
believes that a tenant's prior appearance in a  judicial  proceeding  is
not  worthy  of consideration when a landlord is reviewing a prospective
tenant's application, except under the limited  circumstances  permitted
by this act.
  S 2. The real property law is amended by adding a new section 235-h to
read as follows:
  S  235-H. UNLAWFUL REFUSAL TO RENT TO A PROSPECTIVE TENANT. 1. AS USED
IN THIS SECTION, THE TERMS:
  (A) "HOUSING  ACCOMMODATION"  INCLUDES  ANY  BUILDING,  STRUCTURE,  OR
PORTION  THEREOF  WHICH  IS USED OR OCCUPIED OR IS INTENDED, ARRANGED OR
DESIGNED TO BE USED OR OCCUPIED, AS  THE  HOME,  RESIDENCE  OR  SLEEPING
PLACE OF ONE OR MORE HUMAN BEINGS.
  (B) "TENANT SCREENING REPORT" MEANS ANY WRITTEN, ORAL, OR OTHER COMMU-
NICATION  OF ANY INFORMATION BY A CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY BEARING ON A
CONSUMER'S CREDIT WORTHINESS, CREDIT STANDING, CREDIT CAPACITY,  CHARAC-
TER,  GENERAL  REPUTATION,  PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS, HISTORY OF CONTACT
WITH ANY HOUSING, CIVIL OR CRIMINAL COURT  OF  ANY  STATE,  OR  MODE  OF
LIVING,  WHICH  IS USED FOR OR EXPECTED TO BE USED OR COLLECTED IN WHOLE

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD01586-01-3

S. 3163                             2

OR PART FOR THE PURPOSE OF SERVING AS A FACTOR IN EVALUATING A  PROSPEC-
TIVE TENANT.
  (C)  "PERSON"  MEANS  ANY  NATURAL  PERSON,  FIRM,  PARTNERSHIP, JOINT
VENTURE, CORPORATION OR ASSOCIATION.
  (D) "CONSUMER REPORTING AGENCY" MEANS ANY  PERSON  WHO,  FOR  MONETARY
FEES,  DUES,  OR  ON A COOPERATIVE NONPROFIT BASIS, REGULARLY ENGAGES IN
WHOLE OR IN PART IN THE PRACTICE OF ASSEMBLING  OR  EVALUATING  CONSUMER
CREDIT  INFORMATION OR OTHER INFORMATION ON CONSUMERS FOR THE PURPOSE OF
FURNISHING CONSUMER REPORTS, TENANT SCREENING REPORTS OR OTHER  INVESTI-
GATIVE CONSUMER REPORTS TO THIRD PARTIES.
  2.  IT  SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL PRACTICE FOR ANY PERSON, BEING THE OWNER,
LANDLORD, LESSEE, PROPRIETOR, MANAGER, SUPERINTENDENT, AGENT OR EMPLOYEE
OF ANY HOUSING ACCOMMODATION TO DENY ANY PERSON'S APPLICATION TO RENT OR
LEASE A UNIT INTENDED TO BE  USED  PRIMARILY  FOR  RESIDENTIAL  PURPOSES
BASED,  WHOLLY OR IN PART, ON INFORMATION OBTAINED FROM A TENANT SCREEN-
ING REPORT.  IT SHALL ALSO BE UNLAWFUL TO DO SO BASED ON ANY INFORMATION
INDICATING THAT SUCH PERSON WAS A LITIGANT IN AN  ACTION  OR  PROCEEDING
BROUGHT  UNDER ARTICLE SEVEN OF THE REAL PROPERTY ACTIONS AND PROCEEDING
LAW OR SECTION ONE HUNDRED TEN OF THE NEW YORK CITY CIVIL COURT  ACT  IN
THE  SUPREME  COURT  OR  IN  THE HOUSING PART OF THE NEW YORK CITY CIVIL
COURT, OR BASED ON ANY OF THE FACTS OR ALLEGED FACTS DERIVED FROM SUCH A
PROCEEDING, UNLESS:
  (A) SUCH PERSON PREVIOUSLY APPEARED AS RESPONDENT OR DEFENDANT  IN  AN
ACTION  TO  RECOVER  REAL  PROPERTY  OR  A SUMMARY PROCEEDING TO RECOVER
POSSESSION OF REAL PROPERTY; AND
  (B) A JUDGE RULED IN FAVOR OF THE PETITIONER OR PLAINTIFF; AND
  (C) A WARRANT OF EVICTION WAS  ISSUED  AGAINST  SUCH  PERSON  IN  THAT
ACTION OR PROCEEDING; AND
  (D) SUCH PERSON, HAD NOT ENTERED INTO A VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT, SUCH AS A
STIPULATION,  CONSENT  DECREE,  OR  ANY  OTHER AGREEMENT CONSENTING TO A
JUDGMENT OF POSSESSION.
  3. ANY PERSON AGGRIEVED BY A VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION MAY MAINTAIN AN
ACTION IN ANY COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION FOR:
  (A) AN INJUNCTION TO ENJOIN AND RESTRAIN SUCH UNLAWFUL PRACTICE;
  (B) ACTUAL DAMAGES SUSTAINED AS A RESULT OF SUCH UNLAWFUL PRACTICE;
  (C) COURT COSTS;
  (D) LEGAL FEES;
  (E) PUNITIVE DAMAGES AS DETERMINED BY THE TRIER OF FACT; AND
  (F) COMPENSATORY DAMAGES AS DETERMINED BY THE TRIER OF FACT.
  S 3. This act shall take effect immediately and  shall  apply  to  all
landlord  tenant  relationships entered into or renewed on or after such
date.

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