From January 2013 to June 2015, over 450,000 eviction cases were filed in New York City. Many of these evictions are linked to the ease with which landlords can get around rent stabilization laws, thanks to a 1994 law.
Since the law passed, apartment rents in the city drastically increased, making them unaffordable for many people, typically those who are older and less affluent. The law allows landlords to charge market rates when a rent stabilized rent increases to a certain amount (currently $2700/month) when tenants move out. This process is called vacancy decontrol.
Vacancy decontrol had a terrible effect on poorer tenants. Some landlords harassed or intimidated tenants to get them to move out of rent stabilized apartments so they could raise the rent. In addition, once rents across the city skyrocketed, many people could no longer afford an apartment. Since the passage of vacancy decontrol in 1994, nearly 250,000 rent stabilized units have been converted to market rate apartments.
Tracking evictions by landlord
To see the link between vacancy decontrol and evictions, ProPublica created a map of the city’s eviction cases by building and landlord. You can find out whether your landlord is on the list of those who filed evictions between January 2013 and June 2015.
If you are the victim of landlord harassment or illegal eviction, you can get legal help. NYC offers free legal aid for tenants who cannot afford it-call 311 and ask for the eviction prevention program. You can also work with a tenants’ rights lawyer.