Tenants named in Housing Court hold-over and nonpayment proceedings end up on what is called the “tenant blacklist.” The New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) 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.
How Tenant Blacklisting Works
The OCA sells data about eviction cases brought in the New York City Housing Court to “tenant screening bureaus” (TSBs).
The data, which is transmitted electronically from the OCA’s computer system to the TSBs’ computers, formerly included information about the initial filing of each case (type of case, amount sued for, and index number) and a single- word disposition (e.g., judgment, settled, warrant of eviction issued, dismissed, discontinued, etc.). Tenants sued by a landlord find themselves blacklisted from renting another rental, 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.
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.
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