In New York, it is illegal to demand that someone pay more than the agreed-upon rent in exchange for the promise that doing so will boost their prospects of renting a property or having their lease renewed. Rent gouging is the term used to describe this behavior.
If you participate in a scheme in which you solicit, accept, or agree to accept payment over and above the established rent on at least three occasions with the understanding that such additional payment will increase the likelihood that the tenant will be granted a lease or have their lease renewed, you may be charged with rent gouging in the first degree under New York Penal Law 180.57.
Rent Gouging In The First Degree Sentence
A first-degree class E felony is rent-gouging. Accordingly, if you are found guilty of first-degree rent-hiking, you could receive a penalty that includes a jail term of up to 4 years, a probation period of up to 5 years, the payment of restitution, and a sizable fine.
The prosecution must be able to prove that you solicited or took extra money from a tenant or prospective renter at least three times in order to increase the likelihood that they would sign a lease or have their lease renewed in order for you to be found guilty of rent gouging in the first degree. You wouldn’t have engaged in rent gouging if the payments had been made for a different, legitimate reason.
New York Penal Law § 180.57: Rent Gouging In The First Degree
A person commits first-degree rent gouging when, as part of an ongoing scheme related to leasing, renting, or utilizing three or more apartment units subject to federal, state, or local rent control laws, they actively seek, accept, or agree to accept something of value from one or more individuals in three separate transactions. They do so with the knowledge that this consideration is in addition to the lawful rent and other legitimate charges established under these laws. This agreement is made with the understanding that providing such consideration will enhance the chances of securing or renewing a lease, rental, or use of the property, or conversely, not providing it will diminish those prospects. In this manner, they obtain such consideration from one or more individuals.
- Rent gouging in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 180.55
- Rent gouging in the second degree: New York Penal Law § 180.56
Hiring A New York Lawyer For Rent Gouging In The First Degree Case
Engaging a New York lawyer in a first-degree rent gouging case is essential. In New York, this offense involves a systematic scheme concerning three or more rent-regulated apartment units, with an intention to unlawfully extract extra payments beyond lawful rental charges. A skilled attorney will meticulously analyze the case, crafting a robust defense or pursuing charges against the accused. They possess profound knowledge of state-specific regulations and legal procedures, ensuring the protection of both tenants and landlords’ rights. By securing legal representation, one can seek justice, penalties for offenders, and restitution for affected parties, navigating the intricate landscape of rent gouging laws effectively.