NYC Council Votes to Expand Critical Anti-Harassment Tenant Program Citywide

October 21, 2021

ANHD and CATHnyc Applaud the Renewal of the Certificate of No Harassment (CONH) Program

New York, NY – Today, the New York City Council has voted to expand the Certificate of No Harassment (CONH) Program, a program implemented in 2017 to disincentivize tenant harassment, protect affordable housing, and stop the systematic displacement of New York City’s low-income communities of color. ANHD and our coalition partners are excited to see this critical CONH renewal as it provides protections for tenants in all community districts, increases the number of buildings covered by the program, while also creating a tangible benefit for tenants who have experienced harassment and participated in the CONH process.

ANHD coordinates the Coalition Against Tenant Harassment (CATHnyc), which formed in 2016 and worked with Council Member Brad Lander to win the passage of the CONH Pilot Program in 2017 and ensure its expansion today. CATHnyc’s December 2020 evaluation of the pilot program revealed a necessity for CONH to be expanded citywide and adjusted to achieve its intended impacts of holding landlords accountable for the harm they cause tenants.

CONH has always allowed, and continues to allow, landlords to maintain and improve housing conditions and safety for their tenants, while also protecting tenants from harassment, which includes the actions of  failing to make repairs, construction as harassment, threatening livelihoods of tenants, and all other categories of legally-defined harassment.

CATHnyc’s recent analysis of housing court records showed that between 2016 and mid-2021, at most 165 cases involving tenant harassment were resolved in favor of tenants. That is just 2.3% of all 7,126 cases, and is an average of just 30 rulings in favor of tenants per year. This is why we need strong and effective programs that aim to protect tenants before harassment begins, and that is what today’s vote represents.

“Tenant harassment has been a persistent problem in our communities. Tenants need as many protections as they can get in order to fight back against harassment. This citywide expansion and strong renewal of the CONH program demonstrates the City Council’s commitment to that cause,” said Alex Fennell, Senior Political Organizer at ANHD.

“I am thrilled that my colleagues in the City Council will be voting to pass a 5-year extension and citywide expansion of the successful Certificate of No Harassment Pilot Program,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “In a moment of skyrocketing rents and an eviction moratorium, protecting tenants from bad actors who use harassment as a tool for displacement is more critical than ever.  The success of the program, as well as the key improvements won via the expansion, is due entirely to the strong tenant organizing led by the Coalition Against Tenant Harassment. It has been an honor to work with them to ensure this program will reach more buildings, provide real, tangible benefits to tenants, and more effectively disincentivize harassment.”

“Communities Resist welcomes the expansion of the CONH program. As a community based legal service provider, we believe lawyering should support tenant organizing. By expanding the geographic area covered by the program more tenants have the chance to organize through the CONH program to fight back against harassment. The added money damages for tenants who have suffered harassment are vital protections needed in the fight to remain in their neighborhoods and resist displacement,” said Lina Lee, Executive Director at Communities Resist.

“The Special Clinton District on the West Side of Manhattan was one of the first neighborhoods where the Certificate of No Harassment (CONH) program was implemented. Housing Conservation Coordinators has long advocated for this program as a path to deter landlord harassment and keep tenants in their homes. We are excited to see the CONH Pilot Program expanded and strengthened, with more tenants covered and concrete benefits for tenants who have experienced harassment. With a stronger program, tenants are more equipped to organize to improve their living conditions and hold landlords accountable,” said N​atalie Naculich, Tenant Organizer at Housing Conservation Coordinators.

“Unfortunately, IMPACCT Brooklyn has seen a spike in tenant harassment throughout central Brooklyn, with new methods arising as a result of this pandemic period where many are protected against eviction but not against being neglected by landlords. The City Council’s commitment to extend and strengthen the Certificate of No Harassment Program will give tenants an opportunity to continue to step forward and hold landlords accountable,” said Raliek Gholson, Lead Tenant Organizer at IMPACCT Brooklyn.


For press inquiries, please contact Melanie Breault.




About the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD):

ANHD builds community power to win affordable housing and thriving, equitable neighborhoods for all New Yorkers. As a member organization of community groups across New York City, we use research, advocacy, and grassroots organizing to support our members in their work to build equity and justice in their neighborhoods and city-wide.

ANHD values justice, equity and opportunity. We believe in the importance of movement-building that centers marginalized communities in our work. | Twitter & Instagram: @ANHDNYC | Facebook: @anhdny

Sign up Form