New York Rent Laws
EHRCL Table of Contents

The Local Emergency Housing Rent Control Act [1962]

Section 10. ENFORCEMENT. (a) Whenever in the judgment of the city housing rent agency 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 subdivision nine of this section, the city housing rent agency 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 city housing rent agency 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. (b) Any person who willfully violates any provision of subdivision nine of this section, 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 any local law adopted pursuant to subdivision five of this section 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 paragraph (c) of subdivision nine of this section and for not more than one year in all other cases, or to both such fine and imprisonment. Whenever the city housing rent agency has reason to believe that any person is liable to punishment under this paragraph, the city housing rent agency 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. (c) Any court shall advance on the docket and expedite the disposition of any criminal or other proceedings brought before it under this subdivision. (d) No officer or employee of the city housing rent agency 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 the state emergency housing rent control law or any local law adopted pursuant to subdivision five of this section 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 such local law or any regulation, order, or requirement thereunder, the court having jurisdiction of such action or proceeding may at any state certify such fact to the city housing rent agency. The city housing rent agency may intervene in any such action or proceeding. (e) If any landlord who receives rent from a tenant violates a regulation or order of the temporary state housing rent commission or the city housing rent agency 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 of the temporary state housing rent commission or the city housing rent agency 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 paragraph within thirty days from the date of the occurrence of the violation or is not entitled for any reason to bring the action, the city housing rent agency may institute an action within such two-year period. If such action is instituted by the city housing rent agency, the tenant affected shall thereafter be barred from bringing an action for the same violation or violations. Any action under this paragraph by either the tenant or the city housing rent agency, as the case may be, may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction. A judgment in an action for damages under this subdivision shall be a bar to the recovery under this paragraph of any damages in any other action against the same landlord on account of the same overcharge prior to the institution of the action in which such judgment was rendered. Where judgment is rendered in favor of the city housing rent agency in such action, there shall be paid over to the tenant from the moneys recovered one-third of such recovery, exclusive of costs and disbursements. (f) If any landlord who receives rent from a tenant violates any order of the city housing rent agency containing a directive that rent collected by the landlord in excess of the maximum rent be refunded to the tenant within thirty days, the city housing rent agency may, within one year after the expiration of such thirty day period or after such order shall become final by regulation of the city housing rent agency, 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. The tenant paying such rent may also institute an action under this section if the city housing rent agency fails to institute an action within thirty days from the date of occurrence of the violation. If an action is instituted by the city housing rent agency, the tenant affected shall thereafter be barred from bringing an action for the same violation. Any action under this section by either the city housing rent agency or the tenant, as the case may be, may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction. A judgment in an action for damages under this section shall be a bar to recovery under this subdivision of any damages in any other action against the same landlord on account of the same violation prior to the institution of the action in which such judgment was rendered. Where an action is brought by the tenant the damages which shall be awarded to the tenant shall be the same as if such action was brought by the city housing rent agency. Where judgment is rendered in favor of the city housing rent agency in such action, there shall be paid over to the tenant from the moneys recovered one-third of such recovery, exclusive of the costs and disbursements. (g) Where after the city housing rent agency has granted a certificate of eviction certifying that the landlord may pursue his remedies pursuant to local law to acquire possession, and a tenant voluntarily removes from a housing accommodation or has been removed therefrom by action or proceeding to evict from or recover possession of a housing accommodation upon the ground that the landlord seeks in good faith to recover possession of such accommodation for any purpose specified in a local law adopted pursuant to subdivision five of this section and such landlord shall lease or sell the housing accommodation or the space previously occupied thereby, or permit use thereof in any manner other than contemplated in such eviction certificate, such landlord shall, unless for good cause shown, be liable to the tenant for three times the damages sustained on account of such removal plus reasonable attorney's fees and costs as determined by the court; in addition to any other damage, the cost of removal of property shall be a lawful measure of damage. (h) 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 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. Application for such determination may be made to the city housing rent agency with respect to housing accommodations which, by local law or ordinance, are made directly subject to regulation and control by such agency. For all other housing accommodations subject to regulation and control pursuant to the New York city rent stabilization law of nineteen hundred sixty-nine, application for such determination may be made to the New York city conciliation and appeals board. For the purpose of making and enforcing any determination of the New York city conciliation and appeals board as herein provided, the provisions of section seven, eight and ten, whenever they refer to the city housing rent agency, shall be deemed to refer to such board. 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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