Tenant Buy Out Negotiations

As the price of real estate in New York City continues to sore, many landlords engage in illegal tactics in an effort to evict rent-stabilized tenants in the hopes of obtaining more money for their units.  Tactics used by landlords to eject rent-stabilized tenants vary widely by neighborhood.  One common tactic is the buyout.  A landlord offers to pay tenants a lump sum to move out of their rent-stabilized apartments.  A landlord’s main goal is to replace the existing tenant with a new tenant under a higher market rent rate. However, if the tenant does not agree to the landlord’s buy out terms, many landlords use harassment and intimidation in an effort to force tenants to accept the buyouts.  Other tactics include construction on the building to interfere with tenant’s lives making them uncomfortable or creating hazardous living conditions.  You should hire a real estate attorney to help you negotiate buy out terms to get you the most favorable deal possible.  

What’s the buyout really worth?

A rent controlled or rent stabilized apartment may be one of the most coveted assets in New York City.  Many tenants do not know how much a buyout is worth for a rent-stabilized or a rent controlled tenant.  Buyouts generally range from $20,000 to $80,000, but in certain instances you could obtain greater compensation—especially when you hire an experienced real estate attorney to negotiate for you.

Tenant Rights: Harassment by Landlords is Illegal

If you are a tenant subject to harassment from a landlord that is trying to buy you out, it is important to understand your rights.  In 2015 legislators amended the New York City Housing Maintenance Code to protect tenants and prevent landlords from harassing tenants in buyouts.  In summary, a landlord cannot secure a buyout by using:

  • Force;
  • Threats of force;
  • Interruptions or discontinuances of essential services;
  • Commencing repeated baseless or frivolous court proceedings;
  • Tampering with the entrance or the lock;
  • Threatening, intimidating, or using obscene language;
  • Constant communication, at unusual hours or in a manner one can reasonably expect to be abuse or harassment;
  • Communication at the place of tenant’s employment, without prior written consent; and
  • False information.

In addition, a tenant can notify a landlord in writing that they do not want to be contacted by the landlord for 180 days and the landlord must honor this request.  In New York City, if you are a victim of harassment by your landlord, you may be able to obtain anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 for a first offense and $2,000 to $10,000 for subsequent buy you out.

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