Harassment from a landlord based on immigration status isn't just frustrating, it's illegal. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has publically come out to criticize this practice, stating that it is "appalling."
A recent press release explains that the office has experienced an increase in reports of tenant harassment, especially in the form of landlords threatening to call federal immigration officials to have tenants deported.
Tenants who are experiencing this type of harassment have options. Three specific steps they can take include:
- Get informed. Tenants can benefit from a basic understanding of their rights. Essentially, any attempts to end a lease before the end date based on immigration status is likely illegal. The Attorney General has a comprehensive Tenants' Rights Guide available that provides additional information.
- File a complaint. Tenants have a number of options to move forward with a complaint against a landlord. These options include filling out a form on the Attorney General's website or calling in a complaint at the New Americans Hotline.
- Contact an attorney. Tenants can also hold landlords legally accountable for harassment. Unexplained or inappropriate changes in rent as well as attempts at eviction are just a few examples of actions taken by a landlord that can result in legal ramifications. An attorney can review your situation and discuss what legal options are available.
Regardless of the action you choose to pursue, the key takeaway is that you do not need to allow a landlord to treat you this way. Options are available to hold the landlord accountable for harassment. Do not let a landlord bully you out of your home.