Page 1 of 1

Tenant Blacklisting

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:20 am
by TenantNet
This thread is for more generic tenant blacklisting issues and reports. Please see the separate thread that deals with the tenant blacklisting lawsuit going back to 2006.

The Use of Tenant Screening Reports and Tenant Blacklisting

PostPosted: Thu Jun 16, 2016 2:25 am
by TenantNet
A new pamphlet has been published on tenant blacklisting by
Gerald Lebovits & Jennifer M. Addonizio Rozen, and published by the NY State Bar Association.

See the abstract here

You can access the attached pamphlet here:

The Use of Tenant Screening Reports and Tenant Blacklisting—2016
(451.35 KiB) Downloaded 1290 times

Re: Tenant Blacklisting

PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:56 am
by TenantNet
It's been a few years since we've updated this thread...

The new 2019 rent laws made a stab at dealing with the so-called blacklists. According the Judge Lebovits summary of the HSTPA:

• A rental application may not be refused on the basis of a past or present
landlord-tenant action or summary proceeding under RPAPL Art. 7.
• A rebuttable presumption is created against a landlord that denies rental
after having requested information from a tenant screening bureau or
otherwise inspected court records.
• Landlord has the burden to provide an alternate reason that tenancy
was rejected.
• Attorney General has enforcement power; no private cause of action.
• Civil penalties between $500 and $1,000 for each violation.
• The Unified Court System may not sell residential-tenancy or eviction
• Effective 6/14/19..

This was a bit confusing as NYC Councilperson Ben Kallos issued the following in his October 2, 2019 newsletter:

Protecting Tenants from Building Blacklists

In 2016, The New York Times covered bills I introduced aimed at preventing landlords from blacklisting tenants who have been to housing court. The bills were introduced as a result of the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers named in housing court cases every year that get reported to companies along with credit reports and are often used to deny applications to renters. I reintroduced the legislation last year, and it got a hearing in the City Council this past month. AM New York wrote about how the bill would make discrimination based on the tenant blacklist a human rights violation punishable by fines and enforceable by New York City's Human Rights Commission. For more information, read past coverage in The New York Times and the new reporting from [url]amNY[/url].

It seems the state law permits enforcement by the NYS Attorney General, while the bill introduced by Ben Kallos hands it over to the NYC Human Rights Commission. (some say that NYC HRC is as ineffective as DHCR).

So we wanted to find out ... if blacklists now illegal from the revised state law. Are companies still compiling lists of tenants (by monopolizing computer terminals at the Court Clerk's office) that have been taken to court and selling the data to landlords? And finally, does the Kallos bill offer anything that isn't already in the state law?

So we contacted tenant attorney James Fishman* who has for years been a leader in the effort to shut-down these blacklists.

* Note: James Fishman and his firm are advertisers on TenantNet.

His response next.

Re: Tenant Blacklisting

PostPosted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:03 am
by TenantNet
See the previous post for questions we have on the impact of the new 2019 rent laws on tenant blacklists. We contacted tenant attorney James Fishman, asking for his comments. They follow:

According to Fishman:

1. There is not, and never was, such thing as a “Blacklist.” There’s no list somewhere. It’s about information in the databases of tenant screening bureaus ("TSB") that they get from Lexis who gets it from the Housing Court public access computer;

2. Obtaining Housing Court data by Lexis and selling it to TSB’s who sell it to LL’s is not illegal and the new state law (and the proposed NYC law) doesn’t change that.

3. The only thing the new state law does is to make a LL’s sole reliance on a TSB report about a prior housing court case as a basis to deny an apartment a form of housing discrimination, only enforceable by the AG.

4. The NYC law adds a similar provision to the NYC Human Rights Law making it illegal housing discrimination under that law. The NYC bill doesn’t include the rebuttable presumption that the NYS law has.

5. Yes, Lexis is still collecting NYC housing court data from the public access computers.

You can see Fishman's testimony before the NYC Council Civil and Human Rights Committee on the bill: ... cklisting/

My hope is that the major NYC LL’s will stop using TSB’s altogether to avoid getting sued by the AG since they’re the most likely targets of any suits.