[COMM-ORG] Tenant Organizing in NYC against blacklist
Discussion list for COMM-ORG
colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
Sun Dec 19 20:18:49 CST 2010
From: Metropolitan Council on Housing <active at metcouncil.net>
Help End the Tenant Blacklist!
The Metropolitan Council on Housing and the National Lawyers Guild's NYC
Committee are joining forces to bring a federal civil-rights suit
against the NY
State court system, seeking to block the sale of Housing Court data that
to create "tenant blacklists." We are seeking potential plaintiffs for
For years, New York's housing courts have been selling the data of
tenants who are
taken to court by their landlords. The information is used to create
reports," which are sold to landlords to evaluate prospective new
tenants. The reports
are better known as the "tenant blacklist," because when landlords find
a tenant has been in housing court, that tenant is usually denied the
he or she is applying for, regardless of the reason for being taken to
Tenants are punished for:
* legally withholding rent to force landlords to make repairs
* defending themselves in eviction cases that are brought through no
fault of their
* defending against frivolous claims made by their landlord
* having the same name as a tenant sued in housing court
Concern about ending up on the blacklist also causes many tenants to
court at all costs - discouraging many from exercising their legal rights.
We are seeking potential plaintiffs for this case!
Find out if you can represent the thousands of tenants harmed by the
Review the criteria for becoming a plaintiff, as well as an article
about the lawsuit
in this month's issue of Tenant/Inquilino, by visiting Met Council on
You can also send an email inquiry to: stoptheblacklist at metcouncil.net
[mailto:stoptheblacklist at metcouncil.net]
You will receive an automatic reply with a brief questionnaire to
you will be a good fit for the case - and you will be personally
If you appreciate Met Council on Housing's work, we encourage you to
become a member:
Save the date:
Candlelight Vigil to Save Our Rent Protection Laws
Monday, January 3, 2011 - 6PM
Steps of City Hall in Manhattan
By subway:4/5/6 to Brooklyn Bridge; N/R to City Hall; J to Chambers St.;
The Metropolitan Council on Housing, along with other groups in the Real
(R3) campaign, invites you to a candlelight vigil on the steps of City
Hall to highlight
the need to renew and strengthen our rent-stabilization and rent-control
2.5 million New Yorkers depend on in order to be able to afford their
The laws will expire on June 15, 2011, and we need to preserve and
vital protections, for the millions who depend on them now and for the
Candles will be provided.
No RSVP is necessary, but we'd appreciate a note saying that you can
make it! Send
an email to:active at metcouncil.net [mailto:active at metcouncil.net]
U.S. Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Eminent Domain Appeal in Columbia
The U.S. Supreme Court announced this week that it would not hear an
to prevent the condemnation of properties in West Harlem sought by
for a multi-billion-dollar expansion. Columbia has already begun
demolition of buildings
between West 129th and West 131st Streets - many acquired using the
threat of eminent
domain. Columbia's plan calls for the demolition of all but three
buildings in a
nearly five-block area - and 25 years of construction on 17 high-rise
The Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), a state agency, used
powers of eminent domain to condemn the properties of owners in the area
to sell to Columbia. In 2009, New York's Appellate Division declared
that the process
was unconstitutional on multiple grounds, finding that the state had
the university to rig the public review process. New York's Court of
that ruling, leaving the U.S. Supreme Court as the last judicial body
able to weigh
in on the matter. Columbia's studies predict that thousands of mostly
residents will be displaced from the surrounding blocks as a result of
and many area residents have vowed to move the legal fight to the streets.
Read more here: U.S. Supreme Court will not hear Manhattanville eminent
Pedro Espada Indicted!
Outgoing State Senator and tenant foe Pedro Espada was indicted Tuesday
money from a subsidiary of his health care network, Soundview Healthcare
According to the charges, Senator Espada and his son abused their
positions at Soundview
between 2005 and 2009 to divert more than half a million dollars from
organization and related companies for their own benefit and for the use
members and friends. We may never find out his connections to the real
but Espada used his power as the NY State Senate Housing Committee chair
every effort to pass pro-tenant legislation in 2009 and 2010.
If convicted, Senator Espada could face significant jail time and fines.
the case in the Daily News
or read the full indictment
Voice of the Tenant Movement
This week on Housing Notebook, host Scott Sommer will be joined by Steve
and James Fishman, attorneys who are working with Met Council on Housing
on a lawsuit
to end the sale of court information used for tenant blacklists (see the
in this email, and in our weekly newspaper). The program will air on
20, 2010, at 8PM. The call-in number is 212-209-2900.
Housing Notebook, a production of Metropolitan Council on Housing,
Mondays on WBAI, 99.5 FM, from 8 to 9 PM in the New York metropolitan
on the World Wide Web at www.wbai.org
Programs are archived for 90 days at www.archive.wbai.org
News You May Have Missed:
Harlem Woman Shut Out of Affordable Housing by "Blacklist"
When Monique Holloway began looking for a new apartment that could
wheelchair and limited income, she found that she's been placed on a
of would-be tenants because of an old housing court case on her record.
Large Gulf Remains in Stuy Town Rent Battle
Landlords and tenants appear to be far apart on what the legal rents
should be for
thousands of apartments in the beleaguered Stuyvesant Town and Peter
complexes on the East Side of Manhattan.
SPURA Panel Members Reach Impasse over Affordable Housing
Community activists are struggling to reach a consensus on the future of
Park Urban Renewal Area. While the discussion was mostly civil, it also
the deep ethnic and class divisions that are a fact of life in this
Where's The City's Annual Slumlord List?
Each November, the city's Housing Preservation and Development Agency
a list of the 200 Worst Properties in New York
the properties with the highest numbers of housing code violations per
City "Liens" In on Slumlords
The city is losing out on $100 million it believes it can recoup from
by securing the ability to sell a host of new liens for emergency
made for absentee landlords.
Understanding Tenants' Rights
Several hundred rent-stabilized tenants gathered along with lawmakers at
University Law School for one of the largest housing-rights forums in
The purpose of the event was to educate rent-regulated tenants who, like
New Yorkers, have very little understanding of their rights as renters.
ARE YOU A MEMBER OF MET COUNCIL ON HOUSING?
Join the Metropolitan Council on Housing today and get involved in the
decent, affordable housing!
To become a member and learn about the important work of Met Council on
go to: metcouncil.net/join.htm
Members receive a free subscription to our monthly publication,
MONDAYS, WEDNESDAYS, & FRIDAYS
Met Council on Housing's tenant hotline at 212-979-0611 between the
hours of 1:30
and 5:00 PM on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,for brief answers
to questions about your rights as a tenant, help in organizing a tenant
association in your building, or referrals.
Please note that we have been receiving a high volume of calls lately.
If you are
unable to get through during our hotline hours, please be patient and
try us back
a few minutes later.
Met Council's Housing Clinic offers tenants assistance with
We meet at the offices of the Cooper Square Committee, located at 61
East 4th Street
in Manhattan, every
Tuesday beginning at 6:30pm.
By subway: 6 to Astor Place; F to 2nd Avenue; or N/R to 8th Street.
Please bring all paperwork associated with your case.
NYC'S HEAT LAWS ARE IN EFFECT:
>From October 1 through May 31, landlords must provide heat at the
6am-10pm: If the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside
must be at least 68 degrees everywhere in your apartment.
10pm-6am: If the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees, the inside
must be at least 55 degrees everywhere in your apartment.
Hot water at a minimum of 120 degrees at the tap must be provided 24
hours a day,
all year 'round.
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