What is the Tenant Blacklist?
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 “tenant screening reports,” which are sold to landlords to evaluate prospective new tenants. The reports are better known as the tenant “blacklist,” because when landlords find out that a tenant has been in housing court, no matter the reason, the tenant is usually denied the apartment she is applying for. Because of the blacklist, tenants are punished for:
- legally withholding rent to get repairs that landlords refuse to make
- defending themselves in eviction cases that are brought through no fault of their own
- defending against frivolous claims made by their landlord
- having a similar name as another tenant who was in housing court
- Concern about ending up on the blacklist also causes many tenants to avoid housing court at all costs – discouraging many from exercising their legal rights.
What is Met Council on Housing doing to end the Tenant Blacklist?
The Metropolitan Council on Housing and the National Lawyers Guild’s New York City Housing Committee are joining forces to bring a federal civil-rights suit against the New York State court system, seeking to block the sale of Housing Court data that is used to create these blacklists. We are seeking potential plaintiffs for this case.
We are currently looking for plaintiffs for this case who meet the criteria below:
Have You Been Harmed By The Tenant Blacklist?
- Have you been taken to housing court by a New York City landlord, and
- were you later turned down for a different apartment that you applied for, and
- do you believe that you qualified for the apartment you applied for – and that you had good credit and enough income to afford the rent?
Has The Tenant Blacklist Discouraged You From Asserting Your Rights?
- Has concern for ending up on the tenant blacklist caused you to decide not to defend yourself in an eviction case? (You moved, settled, or paid rent you didn’t owe, in order to avoid going to court for a case you may have won.) or:
- Have you received a notice of non-renewal or notice of termination of your lease, and are now deciding whether to fight the owner’s claims and risk winding up on the tenant blacklist?