Council Bill Combating Immigrant Tenant Harassment Passes

Jackson Heights (Photo by simplethrill, Creative Commons license)

Landlords cannot request proof of citizenship status from tenants without facing legal consequences after the City Council passed legislation on Dec. 11 that amends the definition of “harassment” in the city’s administrative code.

Reporter James Farrell writes in Queens Tribune:

The bill, introduced by Councilman Peter Koo (D-Flushing) in August, aims to protect immigrant tenants from discriminatory harassment by their landlords. Specifically, it amends the legal definition of harassment in the city’s Housing Maintenance Code to include requests for proof of citizenship when the tenant has already provided the landlord “with a current form of government-issued personal identification.”

Additionally, the bill expands the definition of harassment to include discriminatory threats against tenants based on age, race, national origin, “alienage or citizenship status” or gender, among other categories.

Who were the only two Council members to vote against the bill? What prompted Koo to introduce it? And what were some cases of tenant harassment in Queens that made headlines this year? Read the full story at Queens Tribune to find out.

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