What is the Tenant Blacklist in NYC?
Tenants who are named in Housing Court holdover and nonpayment proceedings end up on what is called the “tenant blacklist.” The Office of Court Administration sells Housing Court data to tenant screening companies. These companies use this data to make reports about tenants. Landlords then use the reports to decide whether to rent to you. Most landlords will not rent to you if you have ever been in Housing Court. If your name appears in the Housing Court’s database, it can be difficult to find a new rental in New York City and other cities across the country.
Harm Done By Tenant Blacklisting:
Tenants sued by a landlord find themselves blacklisted from renting another apartment, regardless of why the case was started and regardless of the outcome of the case. Even tenants who have won their case end up on the Tenant Blacklist.
Tenant screening bureau, (“TSB”) reports are often inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading — or all three. For example, if a tenant is awarded a 90% rent abatement because of deplorable conditions in the home, a TSB will report the disposition of that case simply as a “judgment” against the tenant for the remaining 10% of the rent. That makes it appear as though the landlord won the case when, in fact, the tenant won the case.
Developments in Tenant Blacklisting:
The New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) formerly sold New York City court information, including tenants’ names and addresses, in bulk electronic form by a computer-to-computer transfer. In March 2012, the OCA announced that it will no longer include the names of tenants involved in New York City Housing Court eviction proceedings in the electronic data feed it sells to tenant screening companies. The OCA’s decision to omit this information from the electronic data feed is a victory for tenants because it will now be much harder for landlords to engage in blacklisting.
This development does not, however, mean that blacklisting is over. The OCA continues to provide a daily electronic feed of all new cases and updates on pending ones. Although the feed will not contain the tenants’ names, it is not difficult to match an index number to the tenant’s name through the courts public access computer.
Until the OCA stops providing the electronic feed to the data companies, tenant blacklisting will continue.
Additionally, the OCA is still selling Housing Court data to anyone with a contract to buy it. Landlords will likely use creative strategies to deal with the change in the OCA’s policy regarding electronic Housing Court data.
Our office has successfully obtained expungement of hundreds of cases from the TSB’s databases. Contact our office for more information on how to get your housing court record expunged.