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Homes and Community Renewal

Judith Goldiner, of The Legal Aid Society, talks about her experiences with the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU).

Judith Goldiner, Attorney in Charge, Civil Law Reform Unit, The Legal Aid Society
talks about her experiences with the Tenant Protection Unit (TPU).

The Tenant Protection Unit (TPU) was created in February 2012, to actively protect the rights of rent-regulated tenants by enforcing the rent laws, strengthened by the Governor and the Legislature in 2011. The TPU audits and investigates cases of possible unlawful and/or fraudulent behavior of landlords who harass, overcharge, or discriminate against tenants.

"We know that the vast majority of landlords are law-abiding businesspeople who want to work with their tenants, and the TPU has been effective and efficient in rooting out a relative handful of bad apples," said Commissioner and CEO Darryl C. Towns of New York State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR), which includes the TPU. "Through the Governor's leadership, state government has played an active role in protecting the more vulnerable among us."

With the launch of its first investigations in May 2013, the TPU has within seven months announced its first settlement with Castellan/Liberty Place, a landlord who had reportedly harassed Spanish-speaking tenants.

Recognizing that rent increases for apartment improvements were being abused by some landlords in order to raise the rent above the legal threshold, the TPU began auditing owners, and requiring itemized invoices to demonstrate the actual costs. The TPU served subpoenas on landlords who did not comply with the request for information. These actions resulted in recapturing more than 28,000 new apartments in 2,000 buildings and adding them back to rent-regulation.

Also more than $220,000 has already been returned to tenants who were unknowingly overcharged, thanks to settlement agreements with the TPU.

New comprehensive regulations which went into effect last month are a further step to secure tenants’ rights.

Working together with tenant advocates, HCR’s TPU is protecting the homes of more than 2 million rent-regulated tenants across the state, defending and enforcing the law and their rights.

 

Last Updated: 02/25/14