Governor's Tenant Protection Unit to Investigate Kushner Cos.
TPU Has Conducted Hundreds of Investigations into Tenant Harassment, Returned 68,000 Units to Regulation, and Recovered $4.5 Million in Overcharges for Tenants
New York State Homes and Community Renewal today announced an investigation by the Tenant Protection Unit into allegations of tenant harassment by Kushner Cos. at the Austin Nichols House in Brooklyn. TPU will investigate whether Kushner Cos.' actions violated New York's housing laws and regulations. Under State law, it is illegal for landlords to engage in conduct which interferes with or disturbs the privacy, comfort, peace, repose or quiet enjoyment of the tenant or is intended to cause the tenant to vacate the housing accommodation.
The Governor's TPU has been on the forefront of initiatives designed to shield tenants from harassment and to preserve affordable housing. Since its creation in 2012, TPU has conducted hundreds of investigations into tenant harassment. Its enforcement activities have led to the registration of over 68,000 improperly deregulated apartments and the recovery of more than $4.5 million in overcharged rent for unsuspecting tenants through settlement agreements and administrative proceedings. To date, the TPU has entered into several comprehensive, compliance settlement agreements with landlords who were systematically harassing rent-regulated tenants. The TPU has also referred several landlords for criminal prosecution to the Brooklyn District Attorney and the Attorney General.
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Governor Cuomo has zero tolerance for tenant abuse of any kind and we will aggressively take on landlords who try to intimidate people out of their homes. In New York, no one is above the law, and we will thoroughly investigate the appalling allegations of harassment at this or any related property and hold anyone found guilty of such abuse responsible to the fullest extent of the law. We will never stop fighting to protect the rights of tenants and ensure all New Yorkers have access to the safe, affordable housing they deserve."
According to the allegations, which were raised in a lawsuit brought by tenants of Austin Nichols House, Kushner Cos. engaged in a campaign to push rent stabilized tenants out of their apartments by undertaking major construction that released dangerous toxins into the air and created unlivable conditions for tenants, including vermin and excessive construction noise.
Tenant Protection Unit
In 2011, under the leadership of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New York State enacted the greatest expansion of rent regulations in 40 years. In 2012, to increase compliance with these laws and further protect rent-regulated tenants, Governor Cuomo created the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU) to act as a proactive law enforcement office within New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
Tenants who live in rent-regulated apartments and believe they are being harassed should also contact the TPU at (718) 739-6400 or [email protected]. For more information about the Governor's Tenant Protection Unit go to: www.nyshcr.org/TPU.