Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

“Daily News: New York AG’s Office Pushes Guide to Housing Rights for Immigrant Tenants”

April 14, 2017

As published by The Daily News on April 11, 2017.

The New York State Attorney General is publicizing a new “know your rights” guide for immigrant tenants — who are increasingly suffering from landlord harassment because of their immigration status, the office said.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is releasing the guide — in both English and Spanish — so tenants know “landlords may not unlawfully evict or lock out, harass, or deny essential services to tenants based on their immigration status,” his office said.

The guide also details local laws applicable to immigrant tenants, such as New York City Human Rights Law, which bars discrimination due to actual or perceived immigration status, as well as rent stabilization-based protections.

In addition, the New York State Office of New Americans’ help hotline for immigrants will now offer additional assistance for housing-related issues.

This expansion, which stems from a partnership with the AG, will connect immigrants to qualified legal reps for housing court if they’re being harassed or evicted.

The hotline, 1-800-566-7636, answers calls from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Fridays. Callers can get help in over 200 languages.

Schneiderman’s office said it has seen an increase in cases where tenants have been “specifically targeted based on immigration status.”

In an attempt to illegally kick tenants out, some landlords have threatened to call immigration officials and get tenants deported, Schneiderman said.

Two sisters recently claimed in a Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit, for example, that they had to flee their East Harlem apartments — largely because the landlord threatened to report them to immigration officials following Donald Trump’s election.

Schneiderman’s office is investigating the case.

“Every New York tenant has a basic legal right to live in peace in their home. Harassment of tenants based on immigration status is not only appalling — it’s unlawful,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

“This guidance will help ensure that all tenants know their rights — and should serve as a reminder. My office will pursue to the fullest extent of the law any landlord who illegally harasses tenants.”