City Council members try to kill off ‘tenant blacklist’

bad landlord

You’ll be safe, maybe

Remember the “tenant blacklist,” the list that companies made using publicly available information on tenants who went to Housing Court, that landlords then used to figure out who they wouldn’t rent to? We could see why you might forget, it was a few months ago, so go and read about it and then come back here and be enraged. Or maybe not too enraged, because just as you start to bellow “Won’t someone do something?” we will let you know that yes, someone is doing something. According to Gothamist, four City Council members have sponsored a bill to make the tenant blacklist just another useless collection of pages. Like SkyMall!

The proposed law wouldn’t make the existence of the tenant blacklist illegal. Instead it aims to make it illegal for a landlord to reject you merely because you’ve taken a previous landlord to Housing Court. A housing advocate quoted in the story notes that even the threat of winding up on the tenant blacklist can sometimes be enough to keep someone from taking action against a negligent landlord, so if you’ve been worried about saying something about that constantly leaking ceiling, maybe you’ll luck out and this bill will get fast tracked.

Of course, that same housing advocate worried about how anyone would actually make sure landlords followed this law. We suggest making landlords fill out a form every time they don’t give someone an apartment, one that has a box that says “I did not reject this person because they were in housing court once.” No one lies on forms.