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Just because your landlord is breaking the law doesn't mean they'll get in trouble for it (or that your heat will get fixed fast). Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are hoping to change this, with a new task force aimed at cracking down on tenant harassment, involving the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, the Department of Buildings, and the state's Tenant Protection Unit.
"This is a game-changer, to have the top law enforcement official in New York state weighing in on behalf of our tenants and fighting to protect affordable housing," Mayor de Blasio told reporters yesterday.
In the meantime, we've rounded up some of our best advice for effectively fighting back against negligent landlords, including:
- Putting your complaints in writing, enlisting the help of the super, withholding rent, and other tricks for getting your landlord to stop dragging their feet on much-needed repairs.
- Getting a settlement out of a landlord whose loud, messy, never-ending renovation is making your life miserable, with or without a lawyer.
- Using city databases to look up your landlord's housing court history—this way you'll know if they have a habit of suing (or being sued by) tenants before you move in. You can also use tools like Address Report to check into your building's history of violations. For good measure, keep an eye on the city's landlord watchlist.
- Convincing your landlord to fix a broken buzzer.
- Navigating the infamous tenant blacklist, including how to go after your landlord without tarnishing your own record.