Let’s preface a response to the above-posed headline question by noting a well-worn truism about landlord-tenant relationships, namely this: they’re both symbiotic and reciprocal.
What that means is this: Each party needs the other, and each has duties that reasonably must be performed for the relationship to work.
Regarding tenants, they obviously need a dwelling place and, to continuously secure it, must pay the rent amount they contractually agreed to or is set by law.
As for landlords, they are far from dictators with the ability to make arbitrary decisions regarding tenants that cannot be reasonably questioned or challenged, especially when such dictates yield adverse consequences.
Like sudden rent increases. Like refusals to properly maintain rented properties. And like threats to evict.
So, in answering the question regarding the ability to assert tenant rights in response to a landlord’s actions, a second query must be posed.
What specifically has the landlord threatened to do or actually done?
A landlord’s acts or omissions are what a diligent and knowledgeable tenants’ rights lawyer will scrutinize in any landlord/tenant conflict.
And a paramount reality in any such scrutiny is this: A New York City landlord must fully and always act in accordance with relevant housing laws when dealing with a tenant.
Regarding evictions, we note on the Manhattan Tenant Eviction page of our website at Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph LLP that, “The law provides eviction protections that your landlord may overlook, ignore or misrepresent to you.” Similar legal parameters and constraints apply when a landlord seeks to increase a unit’s rent, especially in a rent-stabilized building. Tenants also have strong and well-defined legal protections when their building owners and managers fail to reasonably maintain their living units and surrounding properties.
No New York City tenant — whether in an apartment, co-op or condo unit — needs to passively suffer from a landlord’s conduct that ratchets up stress levels and is arguably either unreasonable or flatly unlawful.
A purposeful and proactive response to such behavior is for an affected tenant to promptly reach out to a proven law firm that focuses exclusively on protecting and fully promoting tenants’ rights in housing-related matters.