The Advocate


Housing Justice: Call It In, Call It Out!

September 29th, 2022

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New Yorkers are paying astronomical rents for substandard conditions. Many are too afraid to speak out. However, here in New York City, we do not tolerate intimidation, discrimination, or retaliation of any kind. We are here to give New Yorkers the tools to stand up for their housing rights.

Call It In!

The Worst Landlord Watchlist singles out landlords who consistently flout City laws designed to protect tenants’ rights and safety. Help us ensure the Watchlist captures the worst offenders citywide so we can hold them accountable! We’ve gathered resources for tenants below.

Report a Violation to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD).

Call 311 (TTY 212-504-4115) to report:

  • A Quality or Safety Issue
    • Water damage
    • Lack of heat
    • Pest issues
  • Tenant Harassment
    • Landlord refusing to provide general services
      • Turning off the heat
      • Turning off the electricity
    • Landlord refusing to provide repairs
    • Landlord refusing to accept rental payments
  • Housing Discrimination
    • Landlord refusing to accept ongoing Section 8 or New York State FHEPS or CityFHEPS voucher payments
    • Landlord refusing to renew lease or offer new lease or withdrawing offer of new lease for an arbitrary reason
    • Landlord refuses to allow you to have guests or family in the apartment based on
      • Sexual orientation
      • Race
      • Marital status
      • Other protected categories

311 notifies HPD of your issue and gives you a service request number. Hold on to this so you can monitor your complaint on HPD Online or through 311.

Call It Out!

Follow up on your complaint with:

  • The Office of the Public Advocate: Contact us at 212-669-7250 or
  • Your Local Representatives, including your Council Member. Find your Council Member here: Engaging your Council Member can help call attention to violations and puts pressure on agencies to show up and address the problems. Occupy the Stoop!
Public Advocate Williams gathers with housing justice advocates

Call It Out & Mobilize!

Use the Worst Landlord Watchlist as a tool to organize with your fellow tenants!

You have a right to meet with other tenants in a public space in the building and collectively address your concerns. There are organizations across NYC dedicated to housing justice; Goddard Riverside, for example, helps tenants form tenant associations.

Share your experience on social media by using the hashtag #WorstLandlordsNYC!

Know Your Rights!

Landlord harassment and retaliation is illegal, no matter what kind of apartment you rent. This includes rent-stabilized, rent-controlled, and Mitchell-Lama units.

Tenants can:

  • Bring a case against a property owner in Housing Court to force them to make repairs and provide essential services, like heat and hot water. This case is called an “HP action.” Tenants can also initiate claims of harassment in Housing Court.
  • File a complaint with the Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force
  • If you live in a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartment, you can file a complaint with New York State Homes and Community Renewal: (866) ASK-DHCR or at

An #EvictionFreeNY Begins with You.

Reminder: A landlord of 4 or more units cannot bring an eviction action against tenants for filing a complaint against them for a year unless they provide a non-discriminatory reason, such as non-payment of rent or a lease violation.

Reminder: If you are at risk of eviction, don’t ignore any notices you receive. However, don’t self-evict. For starters, you may qualify for free legal representation under NYC’s Right-to-Counsel (RTC) law.

Additional Resources:

Tenants, our office is here to support you as we work to hold negligent landlords accountable and push for affordable, safe, habitable housing.

By Mirielle Clifford, Digital Media Specialist, and John Francis, Esq., Deputy Public Advocate for Housing Equity

Our Office

David N. Dinkins Municipal Building
1 Centre Street 15th Floor North
New York, NY 10007


Hotline: (212) 669-7250

Fax: (888) 409-0287*

Text: (833) 933-1692

*Our fax number has changed temporarily while we upgrade our infrastructure
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