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Illegal Eviction In Nyc: Everything You Need To Know About The Penal Law

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Illegal evictions in NYC have been a major problem in recent years, as landlords are increasingly resorting to underhanded tactics to get rid of tenants. The NYC Penal Law provides clear guidance on what constitutes an illegal eviction and what landlords can and cannot do. In this article, we’ll look at the law in greater detail and explain what tenants should do if they find themselves in this situation.

What is an Illegal Eviction?

An illegal eviction is when a landlord attempts to remove a tenant from their rental unit without proper legal authority. This can include using physical force, locking the tenant out of the unit, changing the locks, or cutting off essential services like heat or water. It also includes any threats or intimidation that are intended to force a tenant to move out.

Under the NYC Penal Law, illegal evictions are considered a criminal act and are punishable by fines and/or jail time. This law applies to all landlords, regardless of size or type. The law also applies to anyone acting on behalf of the landlord, such as a property manager or real estate agent.

What Do Tenants Need to Know About the Law?

The NYC Penal Law makes it clear that landlords are prohibited from engaging in any of the following activities in an effort to force a tenant to vacate a rental unit:

– Physically or verbally threatening the tenant
– Removing the tenant’s personal belongings without their permission
– Denying the tenant access to the rental unit or common areas
– Cutting off essential services like heat or water
– Shutting off the electricity or changing the locks
– Harassing the tenant with frequent phone calls or visits
– Offering money or other incentives to the tenant to vacate the unit

In addition to these activities, the law also prohibits landlords from creating hazardous or unsafe living conditions in order to make the unit uninhabitable. This can include shutting off the heat in the winter, allowing mold or other hazardous substances to accumulate, or failing to make necessary repairs.

What Should Tenants Do If They Are Illegally Evicted?

If a tenant finds themselves in an illegal eviction situation, they should contact the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) immediately. HPD is the city agency responsible for enforcing the NYC Penal Law and will investigate any reports of illegal evictions.

The tenant should also document the incident as best they can. This includes taking pictures or video of any damage done to the unit, keeping a log of any threatening phone calls or visits, and collecting any paperwork or documents related to the incident.

Finally, the tenant should reach out to a lawyer or legal aid clinic for advice. A lawyer can advise the tenant on their rights and help them file a legal complaint against the landlord. If the tenant is successful, they may be entitled to damages or even an order from the court requiring the landlord to put them back in their rental unit.


Illegal evictions in NYC are a major problem, and the NYC Penal Law provides clear guidance on what landlords can and cannot do. Tenants who find themselves in this situation should contact the HPD and document the incident as best they can, as well as reach out to a lawyer for legal advice. By understanding their rights and taking the necessary steps, tenants can help ensure their landlord is held accountable for their actions.

Inaas Jamilah

Hi my name Inaas Jamilah , call me Inaas. I come from Bali Indonesia. Do you know Bali? The beautiful place in the world.

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