A federal judge recently ruled that a law firm in New York City is liable for trying to evict a tenant from their building. After the court ruling, the law firm agreed to pay $22,000 to the elderly tenant they tried to evict based off incorrect records. They also agreed to pay $108,000 in legal fees.
The law firm started the eviction process on their 82-year-old tenant even though the tenant should not have faced eviction since he qualified for rent exemption through a city program to help protect seniors from rent increases in New York.
When the law firm learned of the incorrect records, they stopped the eviction process. However, the judge in the case said they were still liable under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and that is why the law firm is paying the tenant’s legal fees and damage awards.
Landlords in New York need to follow state laws before starting eviction proceedings and if they violate eviction laws or tenant rights, they could be held liable for their actions just like in this case. This ruling could impact future cases in New York regarding evictions and tenant’s rights.
This case shows that landlords need to follow the laws and guidelines when trying to evict a tenant and make sure they have the proper documentation to prove that they did not violate the tenant’s rights before or during the eviction process.
The eviction process can be a complicated process for landlords in New York. Landlords wondering if they can evict a tenant or want information regarding the eviction process should consult a real estate attorney to discuss the eviction process in New York City.
Source: ABA Journal, “Law firm held liable for trying to evict elderly tenant based on incorrect client records,” Debra Cassen Weiss, Aug. 22, 2013