Some landlords in New York have reportedly implemented discriminatory building policies with regard to rent-regulated tenants. In particular, there have been reports that common areas and amenities were exclusively reserved for tenants who pay market-rate rent.
Concerns over the issue were voiced to Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who has proposed a bill that would prohibit landlords from assigning a second-class status to rent-regulated tenants. If the bill is passed into law, then landlords found to be in violation could be fined $25,000.
A public advocate has already brought a discrimination claim on behalf of one tenant. In the building where the tenant lives, access to a gym is reportedly offered only to those tenants who pay the market rate. Assemblywoman Rosenthal described such practices as "insidious segregation."
If you live in a rent-regulated property, then you are part of a protected class, and a landlord can evict you only for very specific reasons. In addition to being protected from rent increases, a tenant of a rent-stabilized property also retains the right to renew the lease. In many cases, family members, spouses and other companions have the right to succession in a rent-stabilized apartment.
New York City has more than 1 million rent-controlled apartments. Landlords and tenants alike would be wise to explore their legal options in the event that a dispute arises over a rent-regulated property. Sometimes landlords give false reasons for trying to evict a tenant, and other times, tenants violate their leases. In any case, a real estate attorney can negotiate for a proper resolution.
Source: ABC 7 Eyewitness News, "Bill would require equal access to NYC tenant amenities," March 9, 2014