New York Rent Laws
CRRL Table of Contents

The City Rent and Rehabilitation Law [CRRL]

26-413. Enforcement and penalties. a. Any person who wilfully violates any provision of section 26- 412 of this chapter shall be guilty of and punishable for a crime as specified in subdivision ten of section one of the state enabling act, namely such persons shall 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 c of section 26-412 of this chapter and for not more than one year in all other cases, or to both such fine and Imprisonment. The city rent agency may certify such facts, which in its opinion constitute such violation, to the district attorney having jurisdiction thereof. b. (1) The city rent agency may, whenever in its judgment any person has engaged in or is about to engage in acts or practices which constitute a violation of any provision of section 26-412 of this chapter, apply to the supreme court for an order (a) enjoining such acts or practices, (b) enforcing compliance with such provision of said section or with an order issued by the city rent agency, or (c) directing the landlord to correct such violation of such provision; and upon sufficient showing, the supreme court may issue a temporary or permanent injunction, restraining order or other order, all of which shall be granted without bond. Jurisdiction shall not be deemed lacking in the supreme court because a defense is based upon an order of an inferior court. (2) The city rent agency may, whenever in its judgment any person has engaged in acts or practices which constitute a violation of any provision of section 26412 of this chapter: (a) Impose by administrative order after hearing, a civil penalty for any violation of said section and bring an action to recover same in any court of competent jurisdiction. Such penalty in the case of a violation of subdivision d of such section shall be in the amount of five hundred dollars for a first such offense and one thousand dollars for each subsequent offense or for a violation consisting of conduct directed at the tenants of more than one housing accommodation; and in the case of any other violation of such section in the amount of one hundred dollars for the first such offense and five hundred dollars for each subsequent offense. Such order by the city rent agency shall be deemed a final determination for the purposes of judicial review as provided in section 26-411 of this chapter. Such action shall be brought on behalf of the city and any amount recovered shall be paid into the city treasury. Such right of action may be released, compromised or adjusted by the city rent agency at any item subsequent to the issuance of such administrative order. (b) Commence an action to recover damages, as provided for in paragraph two of subdivision d of this section in the event that (i) the tenant has not previously commenced such an action as therein provided and (ii) more than six months have elapsed since the occurrence of the violation or issuance of the order. An action instituted by the city rent agency shall constitute a bar to an action by the person aggrieved. The city rent agency shall pay over one-half of the sum recovered in such action to the person aggrieved and one-half to the city treasury, exclusive of costs and disbursements. (3) (a) Subject to the provisions of subparagraph (b) of this paragraph, make a finding of harassment whenever it determines the existence of a violation of subdivision d of section 26-412 of this chapter in which event the city rent agency may (i) dismiss any pending application for a certificate of eviction and grant any subsequent application for such certificate only upon such terms and conditions as it deems necessary to prevent the circumvention or evasion of provisions of this chapter; (ii) determine that such housing accommodations or any replacement or subdivision thereof (whether or not by demolition, alteration or substantial rehabilitation) shall constitute housing accommodations subject to control under the provisions of this chapter, notwithstanding any definition of that term to the contrary; and (iii) to refuse to credit any adjustments increasing rent mandated by section 26-405 of this chapter and dismiss any applications for an adjustment pursuant to said section for such time and under such terms and conditions as the city rent agency deems necessary to prevent circumvention or evasion of the provisions of this chapter. (b) No proceeding to determine whether housing accommodations have become vacant as a result of harassment may be commenced later than thirty days after the entire structure shall have been vacated, unless the landlord failed to certify his or her intent to alter or demolish the premises as provided by subdivision c of section 26-408 of this chapter. No proceeding shall be maintained for acts performed in good faith and in a reasonable manner for the purposes of operating, maintaining or repairing any building or part thereof. A finding of harassment shall be attached to and noted upon the registration of the housing accommodations affected by such findings, and a copy thereof shall be filed and docketed in the manner of a notice of mechanic's lien affecting the property. The provisions of this paragraph shall bind all persons or parties who succeed to the landlord's interest in said housing accommodations. (4) Revoke any order or determination based upon any statement or entry false in any material respect in any document or report submitted in any proceeding before the city rent agency or required to be kept or filed under this chapter or any requirements thereunder. c. (1) Any court shall advance on the docket or otherwise expedite the disposition of any action or proceeding brought before it pursuant to the provisions of subdivision b of this section. (2) The provisions of subdivision b of this section are cumulative. The enforcement of one provision thereof shall not constitute a bar to the enforcement by action, proceeding or by making a finding or determination pursuant to other provisions of said subdivision. (3) The city rent agency may direct that a refund payment to the tenant for rent collected in violation of subdivision a of section 26-412 include interest from the date of each excessive payment of rent. Where the city rent agency has revoked an order or determination premised on a false statement or entry it may withhold issuance of an order granting increase in maximum rent for such housing accommodations until the landlord has complied with the refund directive, if any, provided for in such order of revocation. d. (1) Where after the city rent agency has granted a certificate of eviction authorizing the landlord to pursue his or her remedies pursuant to 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: (a) For his or her immediate and personal use, or for the immediate and personal use by a member or members of his or her immediate family, and such landlord or members of his or her immediate family shall fail to occupy such accommodation within thirty days after the tenant vacates; or (b) For the immediate purpose of withdrawing such housing accommodation from the rental market, and such landlord shall lease or sell the housing accommodation or the space previously occupied thereby, or permit use thereof in a manner other than contemplated in such eviction certificate within a period of one year after such removal of the tenant; or (c) For the immediate purpose of altering or remodeling such housing accommodation, and the landlord (who required possession for the purpose of effecting such alteration or remodeling) shall fail to start the work of alteration or remodeling of such housing accommodation within ninety days after the removal of the last tenant whose removal is necessary to enable the landlord to effect such alteration or remodeling of such accommodation, or if after having commenced such work shall fail or neglect to prosecute the work with reasonable diligence; or (d) For the immediate purpose of demolishing such housing accommodations and constructing a new building in accordance with approved plans, or reasonable amendment thereof, and the landlord has failed to complete the demolition within six months after the removal of the last tenant or, having demolished the premises, has failed or neglected to proceed with the new construction within ninety days after the completion of such demolition, or having commenced such construction work, has failed or neglected to prosecute such work with reasonable diligence; or (e) For some purpose other than those specified above for which the removal of the tenant was sought and the landlord has failed to use the vacated premises for such purposes; 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 provided that the tenant commences such action within three years from the expiration of the applicable time period as set forth in this subdivision. The damages sustained by the tenant under this subdivision shall be the difference between the rent paid for the housing accommodation from which such tenant was evicted, and the rental value of a comparable housing accommodation on the open market. In addition to any other damage, the cost of removal of the tenant's property shall be a lawful measure of damages. The remedy herein provided shall be in addition to those provided for in subdivisions a and b of this section. Such acts and omissions on the part of a landlord after issuance of a certificate of eviction are hereby declared to be consistent with the purposes for which such certificate of eviction was issued. (2) A tenant may bring an action against his or her landlord in any court of competent jurisdiction for a violation of subdivision a of section 26-412 of this chapter within: (a) two years from the date of occurrence of an overcharge, defined to mean the amount by which the consideration paid by a tenant to a landlord exceeds the applicable maximum rent, or (b) within one year after the landlord fails to pay a refund as ordered by the city rent agency, such time to be calculated from thirty-three days after the date of the issuance of the order or when the order becomes final, whichever is later, or (c) in the case of an act proscribed by subdivision e of section 26-412 of this chapter, within two years after knowledge of such statement or omission and consequent violation has been made known to the city agency. 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: (i) 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 (ii) an amount not less than twenty-five dollars, 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 wilful nor the result of failure to take practicable precautions against the occurrence of the violation. (3) A tenant or occupant who is unlawfully removed by a landlord from any housing accommodation may, within two years from the date of occurrence bring a civil action against the landlord by reason of such unlawful removal. In such action, the landlord shall 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. The damages sustained by the tenant under this paragraph shall be the difference between the rent paid for the housing accommodation from which such tenant was evicted and the rental value of a comparable housing accommodation on the open market. In addition to any other damage the cost of removal of the tenant's property shall be a lawful measure of damage. e. No person (including, but not limited to any officer or employee of the city 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 rent act or of this chapter, 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 any provision of this chapter 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 city rent agency. The city rent agency may intervene in any such action or proceeding. Added by Laws 1985, Ch. 907, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1986.


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