According to a recent press release, New York Attorney General Letitia James continued her efforts to protect New York tenants by cracking down on “tenant blacklisting,” or when landlords use housing court records as a basis to deny a potential tenant's rental application. What is the blacklist? It is a list of tenants with a history of court cases between them and their landlords, which was made illegal in 2019 following changes to the Real Estate Law, which prohibited efforts to deny housing to those tenants who were on this list. As part of the measures, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has also launched an online complaint form for New Yorkers to report cases in which landlords have engaged in blacklisting of tenants.
In the words of the Attorney General “Fair access to housing is a human right and no one should be denied that right due to previous private circumstances that are often beyond their control, such as an inability to pay rent during a public health and economic crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic”.
To remain in compliance with the law, OAG recommends landlords and property owners refrain from requesting a potential tenant's court records and rental histories altogether and cease relationships with tenant screening bureaus who continue to provide court records.
Just remember that the law assumes that if the property owner made the decision to deny based on the applicant's court records, the burden will be on the landlord or property owner to prove that the applicant was denied for other reasons.
New York State Attorney General (2022) Attorney General James Cracks Down On Tenant Blacklisting. https://Ag.Ny.Gov/Press-Release/2022/Attorney-General-James-Cracks-Down-Tenant-Blacklisting