2010 New York Code
SOS - Social Services
Article 5 - ASSISTANCE AND CARE
Title 1 - (131 - 152-B) GENERAL PROVISIONS
143-B - Avoidance of abuses in connection with rent checks.

§  143-b.  Avoidance  of  abuses  in connection with rent checks.   1.
  Whenever a recipient of public assistance and care is  eligible  for  or
  entitled  to  receive  aid or assistance in the form of a payment for or
  toward the  rental  of  any  housing  accommodations  occupied  by  such
  recipient or his family, such payment may be made directly by the public
  welfare department to the landlord.
    2.  Every public welfare official shall have power to and may withhold
  the payment of any such rent in any case where  he  has  knowledge  that
  there  exists or there is outstanding any violation of law in respect to
  the building containing  the  housing  accommodations  occupied  by  the
  person  entitled  to  such  assistance  which is dangerous, hazardous or
  detrimental to life or health. A report of each such violation shall  be
  made  to  the  appropriate  public welfare department by the appropriate
  department or agency having jurisdiction over violations.
    3. Every public welfare official shall have the power to  initiate  or
  to request the recipient to initiate before the appropriate housing rent
  commission  any  proper  proceeding  for  the reduction of maximum rents
  applicable to any housing accommodation occupied by a person entitled to
  assistance in the form of a rent  payment  whenever  such  official  has
  knowledge  that  essential  services  which  such  person is entitled to
  receive  are  not  being  maintained  by  the  landlord  or  have   been
  substantially reduced by the landlord.
    4.  The  public  welfare  department  may  obtain and maintain current
  records of violations in buildings where welfare recipients reside which
  relate to conditions which are dangerous, hazardous  or  detrimental  to
  life or health.
    5. (a) It shall be a valid defense in any action or summary proceeding
  against  a  welfare  recipient  for non-payment of rent to show existing
  violations in the building wherein such welfare recipient resides  which
  relate  to  conditions  which are dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to
  life or health as the basis for non-payment.
    (b) In any such action or proceeding the plaintiff or  landlord  shall
  not  be  entitled to an order or judgment awarding him possession of the
  premises or providing for removal of the tenant, or to a money  judgment
  against  the  tenant, on the basis of non-payment of rent for any period
  during which there was outstanding any  violation  of  law  relating  to
  dangerous  or  hazardous conditions or conditions detrimental to life or
  health. For the purposes of this paragraph such violation of  law  shall
  be  deemed  to have been removed and no longer outstanding upon the date
  when the condition constituting a violation was actually corrected, such
  date to be determined by the court upon satisfactory proof submitted  by
  the plaintiff or landlord.
    (c)  The  defenses  provided  herein  in  relation  to  an  action  or
  proceeding against a welfare recipient for  non-payment  of  rent  shall
  apply only with respect to violations reported to the appropriate public
  welfare  department  by  the  appropriate  department  or  agency having
  jurisdiction over violations.
    6. Nothing in this section shall prevent the public welfare department
  from making provision  for  payment  of  the  rent  which  was  withheld
  pursuant  to  this  section  upon  proof  satisfactory  to  it  that the
  condition constituting a violation was actually corrected.  Where  rents
  were  reduced  by  order  of the appropriate rent commission, the public
  welfare department may make provision for payment of the reduced rent in
  conformity with such order.

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