Mayor Bill de Blasio signed legislation into law that was spearheaded by Council Member, Robert E. Cornegy Jr., which allows commercial tenants, such as restaurants, to file lawsuits against their landlord for tenant harassment when it is committed with intent to cause the tenant to vacate the leased property or to surrender a right held under the lease agreement. The law allows courts to impose a maximum $10,000 fine on harassing landlords, in addition to money damages and other relief for tenants who have been victims of the harassment.
Types of commercial tenant harassment includes one or more of the following:
1. using force against or making express or implied threats that force will be used against a commercial tenant or such tenant's invitee;
2. causing repeated interruptions or discontinuances of one or more essential services;
3. causing an interruption or discontinuance of an essential service for an extended period of time;
4. causing an interruption or discontinuance of an essential service where such interruption or discontinuance substantially interferes with a commercial tenant's business;
5. repeatedly commencing frivolous court proceedings against a commercial tenant;
6. removing from a covered property any personal property belonging to a commercial tenant or such tenant's invitee;
7. removing the door at the entrance to a covered property occupied by a commercial tenant; removing, plugging or otherwise rendering the lock on such entrance door inoperable; or changing the lock on such entrance door without supplying a key to the new lock to the commercial tenant occupying the covered property;
8. preventing a commercial tenant or such tenant's invitee from entering a covered property occupied by such tenant;
9. substantially interfering with a commercial tenant's business by commencing unnecessary construction or repairs on or near covered property; or
10. engaging in any other repeated or enduring acts or omissions that substantially interfere with the operation of a commercial tenant's business.