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New York City Landlord-Tenant Law Blog

Women Leaders in Law announcement

Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph LLP are proud to announce that Elizabeth Donoghue has been selected to the 2019 Women Leaders in Law.

The New York Law Journal and New York Magazine are joining forces to showcase the city's AV-Rated Women Leaders in Law.

New law significantly helps people facing eviction

How important is it to have an attorney in housing court? A review of the one-year-old NYC Right to Counsel (RTC) law shows that evictions in New York City have decreased markedly since the law went into effect.

RTC is the first law of its kind in the U.S. Passed in late 2017, RTC provides lawyers to people facing eviction who otherwise could not afford one. Under this law, renters who have incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty level are eligible for free representation in eviction cases. The RTC NYC Coalition is also trying to pass a bill to increase the federal poverty level threshold to 400 percent to make more people eligible for assistance.

These tenants fought harassment and won

Tenant harassment is not something you should just live with. It’s illegal and you have the right to take action. That may seem overwhelming and confusing, but with help from fellow tenants and an attorney, you can fight back against harassment.

A recently decided case in New York, Caban v. Silver, illustrates the issues tenants may face when they are subject to harassment by their landlords. The tenants in this case were victims of numerous types of harassment from their landlords, including:

Locked out of your apartment? Here's what you can do.

Accidentally locking yourself out of your apartment is bad enough, but if your landlord locks you out, you are facing an entirely different set of problems. Is your landlord harassing you? Are you in a dispute with your landlord? They are not allowed to change your locks without giving you a new key unless they have a warrant of eviction.

If you come home and find that your key no longer works, you need to take action right away. Your first stop should be a police station in your neighborhood. You can view this list of locations to find out where to go. Let the police know that your landlord illegally locked you out of the apartment.

How 74 pages of text will change lives in New York City

New York City is an amazing place. It is home to more than 8 million people with diverse backgrounds, cultures and life experiences. Did you know that people speak over 200 languages in the city? Or that a child is born every 4.4 minutes?

Of those millions of residents, more than two thirds are renters. As one of them, you know that the city hasn't always had your back. The living conditions rarely reflect the sky-high rents you pay. If you are fortunate enough to pay less, you are often forced out by landlords who know how to use legal loopholes to increase rent.

Housing Stability and Protection Act of 2019 Rent Overcharges



On June 14th, New York Governor Cuomo signed Housing Stability and Protection Act of 2019, which is the most substantial rent law passed on the past 50 years. A million or so New Yorkers who live in rent stabilized or rent-controlled residential units will be impacted this landmark bill.

HMGDJ wins big for tenants living with inadequate fire safety protections

Laws change. Building/housing codes change. Apartments get renovated. These things are all a matter of life in New York City, but how they intersect matters - especially for the tenants.

Take for example a recent consolidated case, argued and won by our own Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph LLP attorney, Jesse Gribben. Due to his efforts, an entire building of tenants will not be required to pay rent until their landlord obtains a valid certificate of occupancy.

Certificate of Occupancy ("C of O")

We represent a Tenant Association who organized a rent strike in an effort to compel the landlord to correct pervasive housing code violations. Upon investigation, the tenants discovered that their building had been altered since the last Certificate of Occupancy ("C of O"), from 1970, had been issued. More specifically, the 1970 C of O listed 53 apartments while the building currently has 60 apartments. When a landlord, absent requisite approval, as is the case here, alters a building they must have their building comply with the Building Code currently in effect. While in 1970 two independent means of egress from every apartment was not required, now it is. Here, the majority of apartments lack a mandated secondary means of egress which is a violation of applicable fire safety law and code. The NYC Dept. of Buildings has required the continual presence of fire guards as a condition of continued occupancy.

First NYC apartment? Learn how to make the process smoother.

Looking for your first apartment in New York? You probably have many questions and possibly some apprehension as you begin your search. There are ways, however, to make the search a little easier.

It helps to understand the types of issues you may be facing in your apartment search. Below are some of the problems and questions first-time renters have.