New York Rent Laws
EHRCL Table of Contents

The Emergency Housing Rent Control Law of 1961 [EHRCL]

Section 11. ENFORCEMENT. 1. Whenever in the judgment of the commission any person has engaged or is about to engage in any acts or practices which constitute or will constitute a violation of any provision of section ten of this act, the commission may make application to the supreme court for an order enjoining such acts or practices, or for an order enforcing compliance with such provision, or for an order directing the landlord to correct the violation, and upon a showing by the commission that such person has engaged or is about to engage in any such acts or practices a permanent or temporary injunction, restraining order, or other order shall be granted without bond. Jurisdiction shall not be deemed lacking in the supreme court because the defense is based upon an order of an inferior court. 2. Any person who willfully violates any provision of section ten of this act, and any person who makes any statement or entry false in any material respect in any document or report required to be kept or filed under this act or any regulation, order, or requirement thereunder, and any person who willfully omits or neglects to make any material statement or entry required to be made in any such document or report, shall, upon conviction thereof, be subject to a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or to imprisonment for not more than two years in the case of a violation of subdivision three of section ten and for not more than one year in all other cases, or to both such fine and imprisonment. Whenever the commission has reason to believe that any person is liable to punishment under this subdivision, the commission may certify the facts to the district attorney of any county having jurisdiction of the alleged violation, who shall cause appropriate proceedings to be brought. 3. Any court shall advance on the docket and expedite the disposition of any criminal or other proceedings brought before it under this section. 4. No person shall be held liable for damages or penalties in any court, on any grounds for or in respect of anything done or omitted to be done in good faith pursuant to any provision of this act or any regulation, order, or requirement thereunder, notwithstanding that subsequently such provision, regulation, order, or requirement may be modified, rescinded, or determined to be invalid. In any action or proceeding wherein a party relies for ground of relief or defense or raises issue or brings into question the construction or validity of this act or any regulation, order, or requirement thereunder, the court having jurisdiction of such action or proceeding may at any stage certify such fact to the commission. The commission may intervene in any such action or proceeding. 5. If any landlord who receives rent from a tenant violates a regulation or order prescribing the maximum rent with respect to the housing accommodations for which such rent is received from such tenant, the tenant paying such rent may, within two years from the date of the occurrence of the violation, except as hereinafter provided, bring an action against the landlord on account of the overcharge as hereinafter defined. In such action, the landlord shall be liable for reasonable attorney's fees and costs as determined by the court, plus whichever of the following sums is the greater: (a) Such amount not more than three times the amount of the overcharge, or the overcharges, upon which the action is based as the court in its discretion may determine, or (b) an amount not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than fifty dollars, as the court in its discretion may determine; provided, however, that such amount shall be the amount of the overcharge or overcharges or twenty-five dollars, whichever is greater, if the defendant proves that the violation of the regulation or order in question was neither willful nor the result of failure to take practicable precautions against the occurrence of the violation. As used in this section, the word "overcharge" shall mean the amount by which the consideration paid by a tenant to a landlord exceeds the applicable maximum rent. If any landlord who receives rent from a tenant violates a regulation or order prescribing maximum rent with respect to the housing accommodations for which such rent is received from such tenant, and such tenant either fails to institute an action under this subdivision within thirty days from the date of the occurrence of the violation or is not entitled for any reason to bring the action, the commission may institute an action on behalf of the state within such two-year period. If such action is instituted by the commission, the tenant affected shall thereafter be barred from bringing an action for the same violation or violations. Any action under this subdivision by either the tenant or the commission, as the case may be, may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction. Recovery, by judgment or otherwise, in an action for damages under this subdivision shall be a bar to the recovery under this subdivision of any recovery, by judgment or otherwise, in any other action against the same landlord on account of the same overcharge or overcharges prior to the institution of the action in which such recovery of damages was obtained. Where recovery by judgment or otherwise is obtained in an action instituted by the commission under this subdivision, there shall be paid over to the tenant from the moneys recovered, one-third of such recovery, exclusive of costs and disbursement or the amount of the overcharge or overcharges, whichever is the greater. 6. If any landlord who receives rent from a tenant violates any order containing a directive that rent collected by the landlord in excess of the maximum rent be refunded to the tenant within thirty days, the commission may, within one year after the expiration of such thirty day period or after such order shall become final by regulation of the commission, bring an action against the landlord on account of the failure of the landlord to make the prescribed refund. In such action, the landlord shall be liable for reasonable attorney's fees and costs as determined by the court, plus whichever of the following sums is the greater: (a) Such amount not more than three times the amount directed to be refunded, or the amount directed to be refunded, upon which the action is based as the court in its discretion may determine, or (b) an amount not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than fifty dollars, as the court in its discretion may determine; provided, however, that such amount shall be the amount directed to be refunded or twenty-five dollars, whichever is greater, if the defendant proves that the violation of the order in question was neither willful nor the result of failure to take practical precautions against the occurrence of the violation. If the commission fails to institute such action within thirty days from the date of the occurrence of the violation, the tenant paying such rent may thereafter institute an action for the same violation within such one year period, and the liability of the landlord in such action by the tenant shall be the same as if such action were brought by the commission. If such action is instituted by the commission, the tenant affected shall thereafter be barred from bringing an action for the same violation. Any action under this subdivision by either the commission or the tenant, as the case may be, may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction. Recovery by judgment or otherwise in an action under this subdivision based on the failure of the landlord to make the prescribed refund, shall be a bar to recovery under this subdivision of any recovery, by judgment or otherwise, from the same landlord in any other action instituted on account of the same violation, prior to the institution of the action in which such recovery is obtained. Where recovery by judgment or otherwise, is obtained in an action instituted by the commission under this subdivision, there shall be paid over to the tenant from the moneys recovered one-third of such recovery, exclusive of costs and disbursements, or the amount of the prescribed refund, whichever is greater. 7. Any tenant who has vacated his housing accommodations because the landlord or any person acting on his behalf, with intent to cause the tenant to vacate, engaged in any course of conduct (including, but not limited to, interruption or discontinuance of essential services) which interfered with or disturbed or was intended to interfere with or disturb the comfort, repose, peace or quiet of the tenant in his use or occupancy of the housing accommodations may, within ninety days after vacating, apply to the commission for a determination that the housing accommodations were vacated as a result of such conduct, and may, within one year after such determination, institute a civil action against the landlord by reason of such conduct. In such action the landlord shall be liable to the tenant for three times the damages sustained on account of such conduct plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs as determined by the court. In addition to any other damages the cost of removal of property shall be a lawful measure of damages.


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