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The ANHD Blog raises the profile of our issues, and educates our member groups, city decision makers, and the general public on our core issue areas. The ANHD Blog offers sharp, timely and effective commentary on key public policy issues, as well as our work and the work of our member groups.

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Tenants Facing Harassment Have New City Program on Their Side

October 12, 2018

City Launches Anti-Harassment Program with Release of List of More Than 1,000 Buildings with 26,000 Units

Tenants who are threatened with harassment and displacement have an important new program on their side. The new Certificate of No Harassment (CONH) Pilot Program went into effect today with the release of the program’s first building list by the City.

Established in legislation passed by City Council at the end of 2017, the law is designed to create a disincentive to tenant harassment by requiring that building owners applying for certain NYC Department of Building (DOB) permits prove there is no history of harassment in their building. The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has now published the list of more than 1,000 buildings, covering 26,000 apartments, that are included in the inaugural CONH program. Owners of these buildings are now required to apply for a Certificate of No Harassment before receiving DOB permits for covered work. The list will be updated monthly.

The Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) and the members of the Coalition Against Tenant Harassment applaud the de Blasio Administration and Council Member Brad Lander for prioritizing this important program, which will provide a genuine disincentive to tenant harassment, keeping tenants in their homes and preserving affordability in rent-stabilized housing.

With this list of buildings, tenants can now understand if the program applies to them and prepare to make their case if there is a harassment investigation or to make sure owners aren’t doing work without applying for the required CONH. The list also allows community organizing groups and tenants to begin targeted outreach and building organizing strategies for buildings included in the pilot and for how to get more buildings included. Click here for the full criteria for inclusion in the pilot program.

The tenants at 412 West 46th Street in Hell’s Kitchen had endured years of no heat, illegal hotels, and unauthorized people entering their building when, in the winter of 2015, their building caught on fire. The roof and two top floors of the building were destroyed, but their landlord did not take action to repair the damage. In the months after the fire, the building flooded, water swept through the hallways, and extensive leaks destroyed tenants’ belongings. The tenants continued to live in the building for 16 months with floods and no roof until a vacate order was issued the following year. Some of the tenants have been relocated to the building next door, where the harassment continues. The landlord applied for a CONH for the vacated building and tenants and local organizations, like Housing Conservation Coordinators, are responding to ensure that the landlord is held accountable for ignoring and displacing tenants. Without the CONH program, the tenants of 412 West 46th Street wouldn’t have been able to adequately protect themselves.

This program and its corresponding building list could also be used as a way to scare away speculators, by making the current model of harassing out tenants and then demolishing and rebuilding, or just substantially renovating and deregulating, infeasible.

We look forward to continuing this work by analyzing neighborhood and building data and characteristics, conducting community trainings and learning sessions, and on-the-ground organizing work. It should never pay to harass tenants.

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