Bill S1800-2013

Prohibits landlords from refusing to deal with certain people solely because those people were involved in prior summary proceedings

Prohibits landlords from refusing to deal with certain people solely because those people were involved in prior summary proceedings.

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  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS
  • Jan 9, 2013: REFERRED TO INVESTIGATIONS AND GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S1800

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the executive law, in relation to a tenant blacklist

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: To prohibit tenant blacklisting - the practice by which landlords deny housing to potential tenants because the tenant has been involved in landlord-tenant litigation.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: Section 2-a(a-1) amends § 296 of the Executive Law to prohibit discrimination in public housing against potential tenants who have been, or are currently, involved in a landlord-tenant action or summary proceeding, except where tenant has not complied with a court order.

Section 3-b amends § 296 of the Executive Law to include landlord-tenant actions on the list of prohibited discriminatory behavior.

Section 5-a(1-a) amends § 296 of the Executive Law to prohibit discrimination against potential tenants who have been, or are currently, involved in a landlord-tenant action or summary proceeding, except where tenant has not complied with a court order.

JUSTIFICATION: When tenants are involved in any landlord-tenant action, whether to assert their own legal rights or for other reasons, they thereafter find themselves on a blacklist that keeps them from being able to secure future housing.

The Metropolitan Council on Housing reports that the New York City Housing Court hears 365,000 cases ever year. Because screening bureaus report cases up to seven years old, tenant blacklisting affects almost two million New Yorkers.

Tenant blacklisting becomes an increasingly critical issue when there is a housing crisis. In New York City, a housing crisis occurs when the vacancy rate for available housing units drops below 5%; the vacancy rate in New York was 3.4% in 2008. In a crisis, affordable housing becomes scarce and blacklisted tenants find it increasingly difficult to secure such housing. Because of the combined effects of tenant blacklisting and the housing crisis, tenants are often afraid to assert legitimate legal claims for fear of being blacklisted by the screening bureaus.

Tenant blacklisting occurs when a tenant screening bureau, including the widely-used First Advantage Safe Rent ("FASR"), purchases electronic data about landlord-tenant actions from the New York State Office of Court Administration's ("OCA"). The bureaus then compile the information into a list that they provide to landlords conducting investigations about potential tenants. This practice is currently legal because court records are considered public information. Any tenant who has been involved in a landlord-tenant action can be named on the screening bureau's list, regardless of who initiated the

action, the cause of the action, and the outcome. The bureaus issue thousands of reports on potential tenants every day. These lists become blacklists for those seeking housing in New York State.

This legislation would address tenant blacklisting by classifying it as illegal discriminatory behavior. Tenant screening bureaus will be prohibited from using Court records to form a tenant blacklist. Tenants would no longer fear that asserting their legal right to due process Would land them on a blacklist.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: 2010: A.4134 Referred to Housing 2009: A.4134 Referred to Housing

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 1800 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 9, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. ESPAILLAT -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Investigations and Govern- ment Operations AN ACT to amend the executive law, in relation to a tenant blacklist THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 296 of the executive law is amended by adding a new paragraph (a-1) to read as follows: (A-1) IT SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE FOR THE OWNER, LESSEE, SUBLESSEE, ASSIGNEE, OR MANAGING AGENT OF PUBLICLY-ASSISTED HOUSING ACCOMMODATIONS OR OTHER PERSON HAVING THE RIGHT OF OWNERSHIP OR POSSESSION OF OR THE RIGHT TO RENT OR LEASE SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS TO REFUSE TO SELL, RENT OR LEASE OR OTHERWISE DENY OR TO WITHHOLD FROM ANY PERSON OR GROUP OF PERSONS SUCH A HOUSING ACCOMMODATION ON THE BASIS THAT SUCH PERSON OR GROUP OF PERSONS WERE INVOLVED IN PAST, ONGOING OR CURRENT LANDLORD-TENANT ACTION OR SUMMARY PROCEEDING EMANATING FROM ARTICLE SEVEN OF THE REAL PROPERTY LAW, EXCEPT WHERE THE TENANT OR GROUP OF TENANTS HAVE NOT SATISFIED THE ORDER. S 2. Subdivision 3-b of section 296 of the executive law, as amended by chapter 106 of the laws of 2003, is amended to read as follows: 3-b. It shall be an unlawful discriminatory practice for any real estate broker, real estate salesperson or employee or agent thereof or any other individual, corporation, partnership or organization for the purpose of inducing a real estate transaction from which any such person or any of its stockholders or members may benefit financially, to repre- sent that a change has occurred or will or may occur in the composition with respect to race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, PAST, ONGOING OR CURRENT LANDLORD-TEN- ANT ACTION OR SUMMARY PROCEEDING EMANATING FROM ARTICLE SEVEN OF THE REAL PROPERTY LAW, marital status, or familial status of the owners or
occupants in the block, neighborhood or area in which the real property is located, and to represent, directly or indirectly, that this change will or may result in undesirable consequences in the block, neighbor- hood or area in which the real property is located, including but not limited to the lowering of property values, an increase in criminal or anti-social behavior, or a decline in the quality of schools or other facilities. S 3. Paragraph (a) of subdivision 5 of section 296 of the executive law is amended by adding a new subparagraph 1-a to read as follows: (1-A) IT SHALL BE AN UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICE FOR THE OWNER, LESSEE, SUBLESSEE, ASSIGNEE, OR MANAGING AGENT OF, OR ANY OTHER PERSON HAVING THE RIGHT TO SELL, RENT OR LEASE A HOUSING ACCOMMODATION, CONSTRUCTED OR TO BE CONSTRUCTED, OR ANY AGENT OR EMPLOYEE THEREOF, TO REFUSE TO SELL, RENT OR LEASE OR OTHERWISE DENY OR TO WITHHOLD FROM ANY PERSON OR GROUP OF PERSONS SUCH A HOUSING ACCOMMODATION ON THE BASIS THAT SUCH PERSON OR GROUP OF PERSONS WERE INVOLVED IN PAST, ONGOING OR CURRENT LANDLORD-TENANT ACTION OR SUMMARY PROCEEDING EMANATING FROM ARTICLE SEVEN OF THE REAL PROPERTY LAW, EXCEPT WHERE THE TENANT OR GROUP OF TENANTS HAVE NOT SATISFIED THE ORDER. S 4. This act shall take effect immediately.

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