It is illegal in New York to demand that someone pay more than the agreed-upon rent in exchange for the knowledge that doing so will boost the tenant’s or potential tenant’s prospects of leasing a space or having their lease renewed. Rent gouging is the term for this activity.
If you solicit, accept, or agree to accept payment of $250 or more over the established rent with the understanding that doing so will increase the likelihood that the tenant or potential tenant will be given a lease or have their lease renewed, while doing otherwise will decrease the likelihood, you could be charged with rent gouging in the second degree under New York Penal Law 180.56.
Rent Gouging In The Second Degree Sentence
Rent gouging in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor. This means that if you are convicted your sentence could include a jail term of up to 1 year, a probation term of 3 years, payment of restitution, and payment of a fine.
The prosecution must be able to prove that you solicited or took extra money from a tenant or potential tenant in the amount of at least $250 in order to increase the likelihood that they would sign a lease or have their lease renewed for you to be found guilty of rent gouging in the second degree. You would not have engaged in second-degree rent gouging if the payment was less than $250 or made for another legitimate cause.
New York Penal Law § 180.56: Rent Gouging In The Second Degree
When a person solicits, accepts, or agrees to accept from a person some consideration of value, of $250 or more, in addition to lawful rental and other lawful charges, with the understanding that the provision of such consideration will increase the likelihood that any person may obtain or renew the lease, rental, or use of real property, that person has committed rent gouging in the second degree.
- Rent gouging in the third degree: New York Penal Law § 180.55
- Rent gouging in the first degree: New York Penal Law § 180.57
Hiring A New York Lawyer For Rent Gouging In The Second Degree Case
Hiring a New York lawyer for rent gouging in the second degree case is crucial for both tenants and landlords. Rent gouging laws in New York are strict, and aimed at protecting tenants from excessive rent hikes. Second-degree offenses involve substantial overcharges. An experienced attorney will navigate this complex legal terrain, ensuring compliance with state regulations, and presenting a strong defense or pursuing justice for affected tenants. They’ll gather evidence, negotiate settlements, or litigate if necessary. Hiring a skilled attorney is essential to understand the nuances of rent gouging laws and safeguard your rights, whether you’re a tenant or a landlord facing these allegations.