Harassment by an owner is a course of conduct intended to force a tenant out of an apartment, or to cause a tenant to give up rights granted under rent stabilization law or rent control law. It is unlawful for an owner or anyone acting in the owner's interests to interfere with a tenant's right to privacy, comfort, or quiet enjoyment of their apartment.
Courses of conduct that constitute harassment include reducing services, engaging in baseless court proceedings, and filing false documents or making false statements to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). For an overview of harassment and the housing rights of foreign-born tenants, see the Fact Sheet section. For the harassment complaint form, see the Forms section.
Tenants who are experiencing harassment may submit a harassment complaint with the Office of Rent Administration (ORA) by filing form RA-60H, Tenant’s Statement of Complaint(s) - Harassment. If the complaint alleges facts that would constitute harassment, a case will be opened in the Enforcement Unit. Tenants can also pursue a harassment case in their local housing court.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How are tenants protected from harassment by owners?
Harassment by an owner is a course of conduct intended to force a tenant out of his, her or their apartment or to cause a tenant to give up rights granted to the tenant by the rent laws.
No owner or anyone acting on behalf of the owner or as the owner's agent may interfere with a tenant's privacy, comfort, or quiet enjoyment of the tenant's apartment. Interference includes reducing services or engaging in baseless court proceedings.
Harassment is a serious violation of a tenant's rights. If a tenant believes they are a victim of harassment, they can file form RA-60H, Tenant's Statement of Complaint(s) – Harassment, with ORA. Upon a DHCR finding of harassment, a civil penalty may be imposed on the owner. For more information, see Fact Sheet #17.
2) The noise and cigarette smoke from the tenant in the apartment next to me is a constant disturbance. What are my rights?
Tenants can contact the owner and ask for assistance, as most standard leases give tenants the right to "peaceful possession" of the apartment.
Tenants can also contact a local mediation center in order to pursue a mediated resolution with the neighboring tenant.
3) An owner wants to renovate a building and asks the tenant to temporarily relocate. The renovations are not compelled by an emergency situation. Must the tenant relocate?
The tenant does not have to relocate, unless so ordered by DHCR, another government agency, or a court.
Fact Sheet #17: Harassment
This Fact Sheet contains information on what is considered harassment and the steps that tenants can take if the owner, or anyone acting on behalf of the owner, is harassing them.
Fact Sheet #45: Housing Rights of Foreign-Born Tenants
This Fact Sheet contains information on the laws around discrimination, harassment and retaliation pertaining to immigrant tenants. Also see: Fair and Equitable Housing Office Immigrant Information
Form #RA-60H: Tenant's Statement of Complaint (s) - Harassment
Tenants must use this form to file a harassment complaint with DHCR’s Office of Rent Administration (ORA).