REAL ESTATE

NYC launches first-ever tenant protection cabinet

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New York City now has a government agency dedicated to protecting tenants. Mayor Eric Adams last week launched the city’s first-ever Tenant Protection Cabinet (TPC), a new multi-agency team that will create policies and long-term strategies to ensure safer, more equitable housing conditions for all New Yorkers. Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer and NYC Executive Director of Housing Leila Bozorg will co-chair the cabinet.

Image courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office on Flickr

“Protecting tenants is fundamental to our administration’s vision for housing, and we’re not only using every tool available but also creating new ones to ensure all New Yorkers have recourse against bad landlords,” Torres-Springer said. 

“Mayor Adams has pushed us to take a whole-of-government approach to fulfilling the needs of New Yorkers, and the Tenant Protection Cabinet brings together over two dozen agencies working on tenant issues to help New Yorkers better navigate the city’s resources, and have the safe, quality housing they deserve.”

The TPC will improve communications between agencies to:

  • Connect tenants to the same information and resources regardless of the hotline or agency they contact;
  • Focus on underutilized tenant services to match New Yorkers with the support they need; and
  • Use data to identify and target areas of highest need, and track progress towards better, more stable housing for tenants.

The Cabinet will work to mitigate housing complaints across the five boroughs, often disproportionately made by Black and Hispanic tenants. The results of last month’s NYC Housing Vacancy Survey revealed a significant disparity in housing quality by the race and ethnicity of heads of households.

According to the survey, 23 percent of Black and 20 percent of Hispanic residents reported three or more problems with their housing, while white and Asian heads of households only reported 9 percent. The TPC will improve the resources available to tenants and create new policies to ensure New Yorkers have safe living spaces regardless of their race or income.

The TPC includes the following city agencies:

  • Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY)
  • Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)
  • Commission on Human Rights (CCHR)
  • Department for the Aging (DFTA)
  • Department of Buildings (DOB)
  • Department of Finance (DOF)
  • Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD)
  • Department of Social Services (DSS)
  • Department of Veterans Services (DVS)
  • Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)
  • Director of Rodent Mitigation
  • Emergency Management (NYCEM)
  • NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA)
  • Law Department
  • Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ)
  • Equity and Racial Justice (MOERJ)
  • The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, Office of Operations, Office of Special Enforcement (OSE), Office of Technology Innovation, and Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV)
  • NYC Police Department (NYPD)
  • PEU

The launch of TPC is part of the Adams administration’s broader effort to support tenants. Last July, the city’s Public Engagement Unit (PEU) launched a live operator tenant helpline to give immediate help to New Yorkers facing eviction, landlord harassment, or subpar living conditions.

Last week, the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) secured a warrant of arrest and commitment to civil jail for Daniel Ohebshalom, a notorious landlord whose track record of 3,293 open violations earned him the number one spot on the 2023 “Worst Landlord List.”

In October 2023, Adams announced that the city had won roughly $4.2 million through three lawsuits against Ohebshalom. In a settlement agreement for one of the lawsuits, the city won over $1.1 million in penalty payments and outstanding fines related to tenant harassment and illegal short-term rentals at three Ohebshalom buildings in Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen.

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