Chairman Crowley, Rep. Jeffries, and New York City Democrats Call for Investigation into Landlords’ Predatory Practices

December 1, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Congressman Hakeem S. Jeffries (D-Brooklyn), and Democratic members of the New York City congressional delegation called on the New York State Attorney General to investigate landlords’ predatory and abusive practices.

Recent reports indicate that a growing number of individuals have opened businesses dedicated to streamlining and facilitating the eviction process for landlords by intimidating tenants into agreeing to bad deals that often leave hard-working men and women at risk of homelessness. These businesses rely on tenants’ lack of access to legal representation or knowledge of their rights. The lawmakers also asked the Attorney General to examine how these businesses and predatory landlords abuse the justice system to extract money from vulnerable renters.

“It is unconscionable that property owners and landlords throughout New York City have been lining their pockets by employing practices that rely on vulnerable tenants’ lack of access to legal representation, and preying on their financial insecurity,” the lawmakers wrote. “We encourage you to investigate whether these and other predatory practices are more widespread than previously reported, whether there is a growing trend of property owners using our judicial system to intimidate or extract money or other concessions from tenants, and whether these practices are out of line with the norms and standards of our justice system and tenants’ right to due process.”

In addition to Chairman Crowley and Congressman Jeffries, the letter was signed by Reps. Gregory W. Meeks (D-Queens), Grace Meng (D-Queens), José E. Serrano (D- the Bronx), Adriano Espaillat (D-Harlem, the Bronx), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn), Thomas R. Suozzi (D-Queens), and Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan, Brooklyn).

The full copy of the letter is here.