Council bill would eliminate ‘tenant blacklists’

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Apartment buildings on St. Nicholas Avenue near West 174th Street. (Photo by Anthony Lanzilote)

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By Ivan Pereira

A City Council member will introduce a bill Thursday that would help New Yorkers avoid being discriminated against for being on the “tenant blacklist.”

Councilman Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side) said there have been too many cases where a prospective home buyer would be denied a lease by a landlord because they were involved in a housing court dispute. The councilman said many of these landlords would request a report about the applicant’s history from a service that has access to the court’s index number database, but wouldn’t go into detail about the circumstances.

“Someone who had a perfectly strong credit score would be denied by the fact that they are in landlord tenant court, even if they were on the right side,” he said.

The bill would change the city’s administrative code to prohibit a landlord from discriminating against prospective tenants because they were “a party in past or current landlord-tenant action or housing court proceeding.” There would be exceptions for tenants who haven’t satisfied the terms of a housing court order or suffered serious punishments.

TransUnion, one of many services that provides reports and the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 property owners and agents, didn’t return messages for comment.

Kallos acknowledged that there are some cases where a tenant may have violated the rules of a lease but in many circumstances, the renter is making a case against a landlord who is neglecting their duties. He hoped that the bill, which already has three co-sponsors, would push the agencies that provide the data that helps all parties out

“We need to live in a society where someone makes a mistake and they correct their mistake, they need to move forward,” he said.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 22nd, 2015 at 6:34 pm and is filed under amNewYork, Breaking News, Politics, Print Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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