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New York State (NYS) law addresses the rights of tenants to organize with neighbors to address grievances. The Real Property Laws (RPP) and other Laws of New York are published online.

Right of tenants to form or participate in tenants' groups

Section § 230 of NYS Real Property Law (RPP) states that landlords cannot interfere with the right of a tenant to form, join or participate in the lawful activities of a group or organization formed to protect the rights of tenants; nor can landlords charge for the use of on-premises common space used for meeting for this purpose. The exact wording of § 230 is:

  • No landlord shall interfere with the right of a tenant to form, join or participate in the lawful activities of any group, committee or other organization formed to protect the rights of tenants; nor shall any landlord harass, punish, penalize, diminish, or withhold any right, benefit or privilege or a tenant under his tenancy for exercising such right.
  • Tenant’s groups, committees or other tenant’s organizations shall have the right to meet without being required to pay a fee in any location on the premises including a community or social room where use is normally subject to a fee which is devoted to the common use of all tenants in a peaceful manner, at reasonable hours and without obstructing access to the premises or facilities. No landlord shall deny such right.

NYS law prohibits retaliation for tenant organizing

Retaliation against tenants by landlords is prohibited under the Laws of New York, Real Property Law Section 223-b.

Rights and responsibilities of a tenant

The New York State Attorney General offers a “Tenant’s Rights Guide” that explains many of the key issues a rental tenant needs to know. The brochure addresses topics such as types of housing, leases, repairs, rent control, utilities and resources.

Many organizations in Westchester address the topics of concern to tenants. A good organization to contact for assistance is the Mount Vernon United Tenants, Inc., Dennis Hanratty, Executive Director; 40 South First Avenue, Mt. Vernon, N.Y.; (914) 699-1114, ext. 303; mvut@erols.com.

Landlord-tenant negotiation assistance

The Westchester Mediation Center of CLUSTER can help to resolve a dispute or issue between landlords and tenants. They can be reached at: CLUSTER, Inc.; Main Offices; 20 South Broadway, Suite 501; Yonkers, New York 10702; Tel: (914) 963-6400; info@clusterinc.org.

Tenant rights organizations

Some organizations in NYS are:

Washingtonville Housing Alliance
136 Library Lane
Mamaroneck, New York 10543
Tel: (914) 698-4299
E-mail: info@washingtonville.org
(Washingtonville Housing Alliance offers landlord-tenant mediation to resolve housing issues.)

Human Development Services of Westchester
Neighborhood Preservation Program
28 Adee Street
Port Chester, New York 10573
Tel: (914) 939-2005
(Human Development Services of Westchester assists tenants with tenant/landlord mediation, housing court assistance, tenant organizing, and the creation of tenant associations.)

Neighborhood Preservation Coalition of New York State
100 State Street, Suite 930
Albany, New York 12207
Tel: (518) 432-6757
(The NPC Web site provides information on tenant legislation, informational newsletters, workshops and training on a tenants’ right to organize.)

Interfaith Council for Action
138 Spring Street, P.O. Box 790
Ossining, New York 10562
Tel: (914) 941-5252
E-Mail: info@ifcany.org
(Interfaith Council for Action is a Neighborhood Preservation Company and Community Housing Development Organization.)

Westchester Residential Opportunities
470 Mamaroneck Avenue – Suite 410
White Plains, New York 10605
Tel: (914) 428-4507
(WRO is A HUD-certified Housing Counseling Agency)

New York State Tenants and Neighbors
236 West 27th street, 4th floor
New York, New York 10001
Tel: (212) 608-4320
E-mail: info@tandn.org
(NY State Tenants and Neighbors is a grassroots organization that helps to strengthen tenants’ rights in NYS)