S06924 Summary:

Ren Art 9 SS90 & 91 to be Art 10 SS100 & 101, add Art 9 SS90 - 98, Civ Rts L
Establishes the right of tenants to call police or emergency assistance without fear of losing their housing as the result of landlord actions or local nuisance laws.
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S06924 Actions:

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S06924 Text:

                STATE OF NEW YORK
                    IN SENATE
                                      April 2, 2014
        Introduced  by  Sen.  ROBACH -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes
        AN ACT to amend the civil rights law, in relation to the right  to  call
          for police and emergency assistance and providing victim protections
          The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:

     1    Section 1. Article 9 and sections 90 and 91 of the civil  rights  law,
     2  as renumbered by chapter 310 of the laws of 1962, are renumbered article
     3  10  and  sections  100  and 101, and a new article 9 is added to read as
     4  follows:
     5                                  ARTICLE 9
     6                     RIGHT TO CALL POLICE AND EMERGENCY
     7                        ASSISTANCE/VICTIM PROTECTIONS
     8  Section 90. Legislative findings.
     9          91. Right to call for police and  emergency  assistance;  victim
    10                protections.
    11          92. Protections  not  applicable  to  breaches of lease, illicit
    12                activities or other violations of law.
    13          93. Right of property owners to be free of penalty for  respect-

    14                ing  the  rights of an occupant to request police or emer-
    15                gency assistance.
    16          94. Limitation on right to request police or  emergency  assist-
    17                ance prohibited.
    18          95. Defenses.
    19          96. Removal  of  the  perpetrator  of  violence  while  assuring
    20                continued occupancy by victim.
    21          97. Remedies.
    22          98. Guidance authorized.
    23    § 90. Legislative findings. No victim of domestic violence,  or  other
    24  person  threatened  with violence or in jeopardy of harm, should fail to
    25  access police or emergency assistance when needed because  of  the  fear
    26  that  doing  so  may  result in losing their housing through eviction or

    27  other actions to remove them from the property. Some local laws or poli-
    28  cies have the effect of treating such requests for police  or  emergency
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.

        S. 6924                             2
     1  aid  as  a  disturbance  constituting  a  "public nuisance" or otherwise
     2  treating the individual faced with the violence and in need  of  assist-
     3  ance  as an undesirable tenant or undesirable influence on the neighbor-
     4  hood  based upon a call for help to their home. Legislation is needed to

     5  assure that victims of violence or threats of harm or violence  are  not
     6  penalized  in  relation to any law enforcement activity and intervention
     7  necessary to address offender accountability and victim safety.
     8    Municipalities throughout the state have increasingly begun  to  adopt
     9  local  laws  and  ordinances to address public nuisances or other intru-
    10  sions on the quiet enjoyment of their residents and communities. Despite
    11  their intent to aid communities, overly broad  ordinances  have  instead
    12  had  a  harmful  chilling effect deterring victims of violence and crime
    13  from accessing police assistance and  have  jeopardized  public  safety.
    14  Given  the negative impact that certain provisions have on the community

    15  at large, and to victims of crime in particular, remedial legislation is
    16  necessary that will both protect the rights  of  domestic  violence  and
    17  crime victims to access essential police assistance, as well as preserve
    18  the  locality's right to address conduct that may undermine the communi-
    19  ty's safety or integrity.
    20    The legislature therefore finds that it is desirable  to  clarify  the
    21  law  in this area in order to protect women and others from violence and
    22  crime.
    23    The legislature further finds that there is  a  need  to  assure  that
    24  victims of violence, including persons threatened with harm or violence,
    25  have  a  clear  right to access assistance to protect personal or public
    26  safety.

    27    The legislature finally finds that clarification  in  this  area  will
    28  advance  the  state's interest in stopping crime and further the aims of
    29  penal laws that depend on citizens to report incidents of crime  to  law
    30  enforcement.
    31    With  this  remedial  legislation the legislature specifically intends
    32  that the coverage of this article includes, but is not limited to,  laws
    33  or  ordinances  that  use  any  form  of cumulative point system for the
    34  purpose of identifying any persons or properties who or which  would  be
    35  subject to municipal enforcement action.
    36    §  91.  Right  to  call  for  police  and emergency assistance; victim
    37  protections. 1.  Any person who is a victim  of  domestic  violence,  as

    38  defined in section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law,
    39  or  who  otherwise  believes he or she is in need of police or emergency
    40  assistance has the right to request such assistance and to  be  free  of
    41  any  direct or indirect penalty or reprisal for accessing assistance, or
    42  because he or she resides at a property where domestic violence or other
    43  law enforcement activity occurred. Other than  as  provided  in  section
    44  ninety-two  of this article, no victim of conduct which has been used as
    45  the grounds for the application of a local law or ordinance  established
    46  for  the purpose of regulating nuisances shall be directly or indirectly
    47  penalized, or otherwise subject to reprisal by application of such local

    48  law, including by termination or  refusal  to  renew  a  tenancy  or  by
    49  eviction.
    50    2.  No  residential  occupant  shall  be required, either orally or in
    51  writing, to waive rights under this article, and any such  waiver  shall
    52  be void and unenforceable.
    53    §  92. Protections not applicable to breaches of lease, illicit activ-
    54  ities or other violations of law. The protections of this article  shall
    55  not  be deemed to prohibit a municipality from enforcing an ordinance or
    56  local law, nor restrict a landlord from terminating, evicting or  refus-

        S. 6924                             3
     1  ing  to renew a tenancy, when such action is premised upon grounds other

     2  than access of police or emergency assistance or is  otherwise  premised
     3  on conduct unrelated to the residential occupant's status as a target or
     4  victim of violence or harm.
     5    §  93.  Right  of property owners to be free of penalty for respecting
     6  the rights of an occupant to request police or emergency assistance.  No
     7  landlord or other property owner shall be subject to fines  or  loss  of
     8  permits  or  licenses  by  a  municipality  for failing to take steps to
     9  remove an occupant who has exercised rights under this article.
    10    § 94. Limitation on right to request police  or  emergency  assistance
    11  prohibited.    A municipality, municipal authority, landlord or property

    12  owner shall not prohibit, restrict, penalize or in any other way direct-
    13  ly or indirectly limit any person's exercise of rights under this  arti-
    14  cle. The protections of this prohibition shall extend to any residential
    15  occupant  upon whose behalf a third party has called for police or emer-
    16  gency assistance.
    17    § 95. Defenses. 1.  It is a defense to any judicial or  administrative
    18  action  or  proceeding  taken by any municipality or municipal authority
    19  enforcing any local law or ordinance that the enforcement action direct-
    20  ly or indirectly penalizes a residential occupant or property owner  for
    21  the  exercise  of  rights under this article. Prior to initiation of any
    22  such enforcement action or proceeding all parties  and  any  residential

    23  occupant  that  may  be so impacted shall be given written notice by the
    24  municipality of the protections of this article and shall have the right
    25  to be heard in the action or proceeding to advance the defenses provided
    26  by this article.
    27    2. It is a defense in any action or proceeding by a landlord or  other
    28  owner  of  real  property to regain possession of that property that the
    29  action or proceeding directly  or  indirectly  penalizes  a  residential
    30  occupant for the exercise of rights under this article.  Any residential
    31  occupant  whose  right  to  continued  occupancy  may be impacted by the
    32  outcome shall be given notice of the action or proceeding by  the  party
    33  initiating  the  action or proceeding and shall have the right to appear

    34  as a necessary party in accordance with  the  provisions  of  the  civil
    35  practice law and rules and the real property actions and proceedings law
    36  in order to advance the defenses provided by this article.
    37    §  96. Removal of the perpetrator of violence while assuring continued
    38  occupancy by victim.  Actions including termination, eviction or refusal
    39  to renew a leasehold interest or termination of any other form of lawful
    40  occupancy through a judicial proceeding may be carried out  against  the
    41  perpetrator  of  such violence or harm.  Notwithstanding the terms of an
    42  existing lease, written or oral, or other form of  occupancy  agreement,
    43  any  person  with rights described in section ninety-one of this article

    44  shall have the right to continue in occupancy,  and  the  court  may  so
    45  order,  for  a  term  equivalent to the balance of the original term and
    46  under the same terms and conditions as provided in the original lease or
    47  occupancy agreement.
    48    § 97. Remedies.  Any person or entity aggrieved by a violation of  the
    49  protections  created  by  this  article shall have the right to bring an
    50  action or special proceeding in a court of appropriate  jurisdiction  to
    51  seek  damages  and/or  declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to
    52  such violation. A prevailing plaintiff may be entitled to  an  award  of
    53  costs and attorney's fees.
    54    §  98.  Guidance  authorized.    The  New  York  state  office for the

    55  prevention of domestic violence and the  division  of  criminal  justice
    56  services,  upon  consultation  with the other, are jointly authorized to

        S. 6924                             4
     1  provide guidance with respect to drafting of local  nuisance  ordinances
     2  and  evaluation  of  their  impact  on  access  to  police and emergency
     3  services.
     4    §  2.  This  act  shall take effect immediately and shall apply to all
     5  pending actions and proceedings.
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