File #: Res 0234-2014    Version: * Name: Seal housing court records until the case has been decided and to permanently seal such records if the tenant prevails.
Type: Resolution Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Housing and Buildings
On agenda: 5/14/2014
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to seal housing court records until the case has been decided and to permanently seal such records if the tenant prevails.
Sponsors: Mark Levine, Helen K. Rosenthal, Margaret S. Chin, Vincent J. Gentile, Vanessa L. Gibson, Corey D. Johnson, Antonio Reynoso
Res. No. 234
 
 
Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to seal housing court records until the case has been decided and to permanently seal such records if the tenant prevails.
 
 
By Council Members Levine, Rosenthal, Chin, Gentile, Gibson, Johnson and Reynoso
 
      Whereas, In 2011, in New York City, two-thirds of the population, or 5,309,000 persons, lived in renter households; and
      Whereas, Every year there are over 200,000 Housing Court filings in New York City; and
      Whereas, Until recently, the Office of Court Administration (OCA) sold Housing Court data to tenant screening companies, including the names and addresses of tenants involved in Housing Court proceedings; and
      Whereas, In 2012, OCA agreed to stop including the names of tenants in data sold to tenant screening companies, but continued to make tenants names available through the Unified Civil Courts' eCourts website and through the Housing Court clerk's office; and
      Whereas, The tenant screening companies offer access to the list of Housing Court involved tenants to landlords for a fee, and landlords use the information to decide whether to rent to tenants; and
      Whereas, These lists are often full of inaccuracies and are traded between the approximately 650 tenant screening companies across the United States; and
      Whereas, Because many landlords will not rent to a tenant who has ever been in Housing Court, regardless of the outcome of the case, the tenants screening company list has become known as the "tenant blacklist"; and
      Whereas, Many of the tenants currently on the tenant blacklist were in Housing Court to advocate for their legal rights, and received favorable case outcomes; and
      Whereas, The threat of inclusion on the tenant blacklist discourages tenants from taking their landlords to Court, even when their rights have been violated; now, therefore, be it
      Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls upon the New York State Legislature to seal housing court records until the case has been decided and to permanently seal such records if the tenant prevails.
 
 
LS # 1191
JW
Date 5/1/14