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Tenants push City Council to pass protection legislation

A tenants' group rallied for better protections from

A tenants' group rallied for better protections from landlords on the steps of City Hall on Feb. 23, 2017. Photo Credit: Ivan Pereira

A group of tenants gathered outside City Hall Thursday to urge the City Council to pass bills to protect them from severe landlord harassment.

The Stand for Tenant Safety coalition said the dozen legislative pieces have been sitting on the shelf for too long while renters had to suffer from unscrupulous tactics at the hands of their building owners. In several instances, the rent-regulated tenants said their landlords conducted unnecessary repairs, damaged their rooms and threatened them to get them out so owners could charge market rates for the units.

“My landlord removed the roof off my head, literally,” said Efrain Felipe of Greenpoint.

The bills aim to curb these abuses through measures such as increasing the penalties on landlords who conduct illegal constructions, beefing up the Department of Buildings’s resources for code enforcement and limiting the number of self- certified construction projects.

“We must hold these landlords accountable,” City Councilwoman Margaret Chin told the demonstrators. Chin, who represents communities in lower Manhattan is co-sponsoring one of the bills.

Robin Levine, a spokeswoman for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, said the speaker is reviewing the bills.

“Protecting tenants and keeping New Yorkers in their homes is a priority of this City Council, which is why the speaker announced plans to examine the use of construction as a form of harassment during her State of the City address last week,” Levine said in a statement.


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