The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a decision regarding racial harassment occurring at a Kings Park apartment complex. The Plaintiff, Donahue Francis, was subjected to a continuous campaign of racial harassment, abuse, and threats from his next-door neighbor. The conduct included derogatory language, death threats, and harassing conduct such as attempting to photograph the interior of Francis’ apartment. The conduct continued and Francis contacted the Suffolk County Police out of fear for his life. The Suffolk County Police contacted the apartment complex, Kings Park Manor (KPM), and informed the complex about the neighbor’s activity. KPM did nothing in response to the call from the Suffolk County Police, so Francis wrote them a letter directly.
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The trend of fraudulently labeling pets as “therapy” or “emotional” animals to avoid a building’s no pet policy is on the rise. Landlords are increasingly reluctant to challenge their tenants as any denial could result in a discrimination suit resulting in fines up to $250,000. Unlike trained service animals such as a seeing-eye-dog, emotional support animals do not need formal training. In fact, there are websites online that will generate a doctor’s note stating the tenant’s need for a service dog for under $200. Despite the therapy exemption, the concern is that therapy animals may become a nuisance to landlords and neighbors.
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In recent years, more people are seeking rental units through the Internet. However, individuals often find themselves falling victim to an online scam. Some of the Internet sites commonly associated with rental scams are Craigslist, Trulia, and Zillow. While these websites do their best to eliminate scammers from using their sites, it is important to look for possible signs of a rental scam as well as perform due diligence in the event that a scammer has slipped through the cracks.
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In September 2016, New York City enacted the “Non-Residential Tenant Harassment” law that increases protections for New York City commercial tenants. Under the law, a commercial landlord, or someone acting on his or her behalf, cannot harass a tenant into making them vacate the commercial property or surrender or waive their rights under an effective lease agreement. This includes the use of force, implied force, interruption of access to the property or services within the property, court proceedings, and the changing of locks in the property.
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A lease agreement is a contract that creates rights and obligations for a landlord and a tenant related to rental property. Some leases are term leases, and others are month to month. When a tenant wants to terminate (break) a lease early, it’s important that they consult with a landlord-tenant attorney who can assist in protecting their rights under the law.
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Eviction is the legal process by which a landlord can expel a resident or tenant from a property. Some of the most common reasons a landlord will evict a tenant are the failure to pay rent on time, harboring other people or pets at the residence that are not authorized by the lease agreement, or the tenant’s participation in illegal or criminal activity within the rental premises. Regardless of the reason for eviction, a landlord must follow a formal eviction process that varies based on the county in which the property is located.
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