NYC Opens Task Force to Fight Tenant Harassment

NEW YORK (AP) -

State and city officials on Thursday launched a joint task force to crack down on New York City landlords who harass tenants to force them into vacating rent-regulated apartments.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Mayor Bill de Blasio joined others in announcing the creation of the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force. They said it was a response to a rise in tenant complaints.

“This is the landlord-tenant equivalent of climate change,” Schneiderman said in a Brooklyn news conference. “If you treat your tenants like criminals, we will not hesitate to make you one.”

The task force will target landlords suspected of using renovation projects to force out tenants. Once vacated, an owner can increase rents by 20 percent or convert rent-regulated buildings into luxury condominiums.