Worried? City Will Lend You an Ear

by DAVID L. LEWIS
Daily News, June 12, 1997
The city will set up two telephone hotlines to provide information and respond to landlord-tenant disputes if rent regulations expire, Mayor Giuliani said yesterday.

Police will staff one hotline to handle allegations of landlord harassment. Legal Aid Society lawyers will staff the other to advise tenants on their rights, Giuliani said.

Describing the looming expiration as a potential emergency, Giuliani said the city is gearing up for a flood of calls from anxious tenants. "My role as the mayor of the City of New York is to prepare the city for the possibility that we will face this emergency, and we're going to do the best that we can to prepare for it," he said.

Giuliani said most landlords won't try to take advantage of the end of state regulations. But he said that some owners in the past have used tactics ranging from water shut-offs to threats of physical violence in an effort to empty rent-regulated apartments.

The police response will include specially trained cops who will decide when a landlord's actions are potentially criminal.

Besides providing advice on housing law, the Legal Aid Society will provide attorneys to represent tenants in court, if needed.