The City Council is moving to toughen tenant protection laws by making landlords liable for repeatedly denying them mandated services.
If the law is enacted, renters who routinely have their heat or hot water turned off or other services denied will be able to haul landlords to court for systematic harassment. Now, they can only go to housing court to prove each individual violation.
"You will be able to take them to court," said Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The proposal makes such harassment a Class C violation with landlords liable for up to $5,000.
Landlord groups said the proposal would lead to baseless lawsuits.
"And that’s going to clog up the courts and the people with legitimate cases won’t be heard," warned Frank Ricci of the Rent Stabilization Association, a landlord group.