Bill Text: NY A02665 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Amended

Bill Title: Establishes the right of tenants to call police or emergency assistance without fear of losing their housing as the result of landlord actions or local nuisance laws.

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 24-1)

Status: (Passed) 2019-09-13 - signed chap.263 [A02665 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-A02665-Amended.html

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                   IN ASSEMBLY
                                    January 24, 2019
        Introduced  by  M.  of A. LAVINE, LUPARDO, WEPRIN, L. ROSENTHAL, MOSLEY,
          Multi-Sponsored by -- M. of A. PERRY, SIMON -- read once and  referred
          to  the Committee on Judiciary -- reported and referred to the Commit-
          tee on Codes -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered  reprinted
          as amended and recommitted to said committee
        AN  ACT  to amend the civil rights law, in relation to the right to call
          for police and emergency assistance and providing victim protections
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Article 9 and sections 90 and 91 of the civil rights law,
     2  as renumbered by chapter 310 of the laws of 1962, are renumbered article
     3  10 and sections 100 and 101, and a new article 9 is  added  to  read  as
     4  follows:
     5                                  ARTICLE 9
     6                     RIGHT TO CALL POLICE AND EMERGENCY
     7                        ASSISTANCE/VICTIM PROTECTIONS
     8  Section 90. Legislative findings.
     9          91. Right  to  call  for police and emergency assistance; victim
    10                protections.
    11          92. Protections not applicable to  breaches  of  lease,  illicit
    12                activities or other violations of law.
    13          93. Right  of property owners to be free of penalty for respect-
    14                ing the rights of an occupant to request police  or  emer-
    15                gency assistance.
    16          94. Limitation  on  right to request police or emergency assist-
    17                ance prohibited.
    18          95. Defenses.
    19          96. Removal  of  the  perpetrator  of  violence  while  assuring
    20                continued occupancy by victim.
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

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     1          97. Remedies.
     2          98. Availability of remedies.
     3    §  90.  Legislative findings. No victim of domestic violence, or other
     4  person threatened with violence or in jeopardy of harm, should  fail  to
     5  access  police  or  emergency assistance when needed because of the fear
     6  that doing so may result in losing their  housing  through  eviction  or
     7  other actions to remove them from the property. Some local laws or poli-
     8  cies  have  the effect of treating such requests for police or emergency
     9  aid as a disturbance  constituting  a  "public  nuisance"  or  otherwise
    10  treating  the  individual faced with the violence and in need of assist-
    11  ance as an undesirable tenant or undesirable influence on the  neighbor-
    12  hood  based upon a call for help to their home. Legislation is needed to
    13  assure that victims of violence or threats of harm or violence  are  not
    14  penalized  in  relation to any law enforcement activity and intervention
    15  necessary to address offender accountability and victim safety.
    16    Municipalities throughout the state have increasingly begun  to  adopt
    17  local  laws  and  ordinances to address public nuisances or other intru-
    18  sions on the quiet enjoyment of their residents and communities. Despite
    19  their intent to aid communities, overly broad  ordinances  have  instead
    20  had  a  harmful  chilling effect deterring victims of violence and crime
    21  from accessing police assistance and  have  jeopardized  public  safety.
    22  They  also can unfairly penalize landlords when their tenants need emer-
    23  gency assistance.  Courts in New York and other states have  found  such
    24  public  ordinances  to be unconstitutional because of these harms. More-
    25  over, the U.S.  Department of Housing and Urban Development issued guid-
    26  ance in 2016 on how these ordinances can violate the Fair Housing  Act's
    27  prohibitions  on  discrimination  based  on  sex,  race, disability, and
    28  national origin.
    29    Given the negative impact that certain provisions have on the communi-
    30  ty at large, and to victims of crime in particular, remedial legislation
    31  is necessary that will both protect the rights of domestic violence  and
    32  crime  victims  and  others  to  access  essential  police and emergency
    33  assistance, as well as preserve the locality's right to address  conduct
    34  that may undermine the community's safety or integrity.
    35    The  legislature  therefore  finds that it is desirable to clarify the
    36  law in this area in order to protect people from violence and crime.
    37    The legislature further finds that there is  a  need  to  assure  that
    38  victims of violence, including persons threatened with harm or violence,
    39  have  a  clear  right to access assistance to protect personal or public
    40  safety.
    41    The legislature further finds that clarification  in  this  area  will
    42  advance  the  state's interest in stopping crime and further the aims of
    43  penal laws that depend on citizens to report incidents of crime  to  law
    44  enforcement.
    45    The  legislature  finally  finds  that  there is a need to assure that
    46  people who need emergency assistance, including persons  with  disabili-
    47  ties, have a clear right to access assistance without fear of penalty or
    48  reprisal.
    49    With  this  remedial  legislation the legislature specifically intends
    50  that the coverage of this article includes, but is not limited to,  laws
    51  or  ordinances  that  use  any  form  of cumulative point system for the
    52  purpose of identifying any persons or properties who or which  would  be
    53  subject to municipal enforcement action.
    54    §  91.  Right  to  call  for  police  and emergency assistance; victim
    55  protections. 1.  Any person who is a victim  of  domestic  violence,  as
    56  defined in section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law,

        A. 2665--A                          3
     1  or  who  otherwise  believes  they  are  in  need of police or emergency
     2  assistance has the right to request such assistance and to  be  free  of
     3  any  direct or indirect penalty or reprisal for accessing assistance, or
     4  because  they  reside at a property where domestic violence or other law
     5  enforcement or emergency  response  activity  occurred.  Other  than  as
     6  provided  in  section  ninety-two  of this article, no victim of conduct
     7  which has been used as the grounds for the application of a local law or
     8  ordinance established for the purpose of regulating nuisances  shall  be
     9  directly  or  indirectly  penalized, or otherwise subject to reprisal by
    10  application of such local law, including by termination  or  refusal  to
    11  renew  a tenancy or by eviction.  These protections shall also extend to
    12  any residential occupant upon whose behalf a third party has called  for
    13  police or emergency assistance.
    14    2.  No  residential  occupant  shall  be required, either orally or in
    15  writing, to waive rights under this article, and any such  waiver  shall
    16  be void and unenforceable.
    17    §  92. Protections not applicable to breaches of lease, illicit activ-
    18  ities or other violations of law. The protections of this article  shall
    19  not  be deemed to prohibit a municipality from enforcing an ordinance or
    20  local law, nor restrict a landlord from terminating, evicting or  refus-
    21  ing  to renew a tenancy, when such action is premised upon grounds other
    22  than access of police or emergency assistance or is  otherwise  premised
    23  on conduct unrelated to the residential occupant's status as a target or
    24  victim of violence or harm.
    25    §  93.  Right  of property owners to be free of penalty for respecting
    26  the rights of an occupant to request police or emergency assistance.  No
    27  landlord or other property owner shall be subject to fines  or  loss  of
    28  permits  or  licenses  by a municipality for failing to penalize or take
    29  steps to remove an occupant who has exercised rights under this article.
    30    § 94. Limitation on right to request police  or  emergency  assistance
    31  prohibited.    A municipality, municipal authority, landlord or property
    32  owner shall not prohibit, restrict, penalize or in any other way direct-
    33  ly or indirectly limit any person's exercise of rights under this  arti-
    34  cle  and any such limitation shall be void as contrary to public policy.
    35  The protections of this prohibition  shall  extend  to  any  residential
    36  occupant  upon whose behalf a third party has called for police or emer-
    37  gency assistance.
    38    § 95. Defenses. 1.  It is a defense to any judicial or  administrative
    39  action  or  proceeding  taken by any municipality or municipal authority
    40  enforcing any local law or ordinance that the enforcement action direct-
    41  ly or indirectly penalizes a residential occupant or property owner  for
    42  the  exercise  of  rights under this article. Prior to initiation of any
    43  such enforcement action or proceeding all parties  and  any  residential
    44  occupant  that  may  be so impacted shall be given written notice by the
    45  municipality of the protections of this article and shall have the right
    46  to be heard in the action or proceeding to advance the defenses provided
    47  by this article.
    48    2. It is a defense in any action or proceeding by a landlord or  other
    49  owner  of  real  property to regain possession of that property that the
    50  action or proceeding directly  or  indirectly  penalizes  a  residential
    51  occupant for the exercise of rights under this article.  Any residential
    52  occupant  whose  right  to  continued  occupancy  may be impacted by the
    53  action or proceeding shall be given written  notice  of  the  action  or
    54  proceeding  and  the protections of this article by the party initiating
    55  the action or proceeding. The residential occupant shall have the  right
    56  to  appear as a necessary party in accordance with the provisions of the

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     1  civil  practice  law  and  rules  and  the  real  property  actions  and
     2  proceedings  law in order to advance the defenses provided by this arti-
     3  cle.
     4    §  96. Removal of the perpetrator of violence while assuring continued
     5  occupancy by victim.  Actions including termination, eviction or refusal
     6  to renew a leasehold interest or termination of any other form of lawful
     7  occupancy through a judicial proceeding may be carried out  against  the
     8  perpetrator  of  such violence or harm.  Notwithstanding the terms of an
     9  existing lease, written or oral, or other form of  occupancy  agreement,
    10  any  person  with rights described in section ninety-one of this article
    11  shall have the right to continue in occupancy,  and  the  court  may  so
    12  order,  for  a  term  equivalent to the balance of the original term and
    13  under the same terms and conditions as provided in the original lease or
    14  occupancy agreement.
    15    § 97.  Remedies.  Any person or entity aggrieved by a violation of the
    16  protections created by this article shall have the  right  to  bring  an
    17  action  or  special proceeding in a court of appropriate jurisdiction to
    18  seek damages and/or declaratory and injunctive relief or any other reme-
    19  dies as provided by law with respect to  such  violation.  A  prevailing
    20  plaintiff may be entitled to an award of costs and attorney's fees.
    21    §  98.    Availability  of  remedies. Seeking legal remedies or relief
    22  under this article shall not diminish or impair the right of a person to
    23  seek or receive any other relief, remedy  or  benefit  under  any  other
    24  applicable law or legal process.
    25    §  2.  This  act  shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all
    26  pending actions and proceedings.