Living in New York, we have all been accustomed to periodic rent increases. However, it is a crime to accept money (or anything else of value) above lawful rental charges with the expectation that this extra payment will result in a higher possibility of obtaining or renewing a lease. This crime is called New York Rent Gouging. Under New York Penal Law, there are three different criminal charges relating to rent gouging. Specifically, these New York Rent Gouging charges are:

  • Rent Gouging in the First Degree (PL 180.57);
  • Rent Gouging in the Second Degree (PL 180.56);
  • Rent Gouging in the Third Degree (PL 180.55).

Rent Gouging in the First Degree is the most serious of these charges and Rent Gouging in the Third Degree is the least serious. The difference between these New York Rent Gouging Charges is explained below.

Rent Gouging in the Third Degree 

New York Rent Gouging in the Third Degree is codified in New York Penal Law Section 180.55.   Under New York Penal Law Section 180.55, a person is guilty of Rent Gouging in the Third Degree when:

  1. In connection with the leasing, rental or use of real property,
  2. S/he solicits, accepts or agrees to accept from a person
  3. Some consideration of value, less than $250, in addition to lawful rental and other lawful charges,
  4. Upon an agreement or understanding that the furnishing of such consideration will increase the possibility that any person may obtain or renew the lease, rental or use of such property, or that a failure to furnish it will decrease the possibility that any person may obtain or renew the same.

Simply put, accepting or agreeing to accept something of value less than $250, which is above the lawful rental price, with the understanding that this additional payment will impact who obtains or renews the lease constitutes New York Rent Gouging in the Third Degree.

Sentencing and Penalties for New York Rent Gouging in the Third Degree

 Rent Gouging in the Third Degree is a Class “B” Misdemeanor. As such, this particular charge is punishable by:

  • Up to 90 days jail;
  • Probation;
  • Conditional Discharge (with conditions such as community service or restitution imposed by the Court);
  • Unconditional Discharge (no sentencing conditions imposed by the Court);
  • Time served.

Rent Gouging in the Second Degree 

 New York Rent Gouging in the Second Degree is codified in New York Penal Law Section 180.56. Under New York Penal Law Section 180.56, a person is guilty of Rent Gouging in the Second Degree when:

  1. In connection with the leasing, rental or use of real property,
  2. S/he solicits, accepts or agrees to accept from a person
  3. Some consideration of value, of $250 or more, in addition to lawful rental and other lawful charges,
  4. Upon an agreement or understanding that the furnishing of such consideration will increase the possibility that any person may obtain or renew the lease, rental or use of such property, or that a failure to furnish it will decrease the possibility that any person may obtain or renew the same.

The language of the Rent Gouging in the Second Degree charge is identical to the language of Rent Gouging in the Third Degree charge. The only difference is that Rent Gouging in the Second Degree requires that the value of the additional payment is $250 or more, while Rent Gouging in the Third Degree requires that the value of the additional payment is less than $250.

Penalties and Sentencing for New York Rent Gouging in the Second Degree

Rent Gouging in the Second Degree is a Class “A” misdemeanor. As such, this charge is punishable by:

  • Up to 1 year in prison,
  • Probation,
  • Conditional Discharge (with sentencing conditions imposed by the Court),
  • Unconditional Discharge (no sentencing conditions imposed by the Court),
  • Time Served.

Rent Gouging in the First Degree 

New York Rent Gouging in the First Degree is codified in New York Penal Law Section 180.57.  Under New York Penal Law Section 180.57, a person is guilty of guilty of Rent Gouging in the First Degree when:

  1. In the course of a scheme constituting a systematic ongoing course of conduct in connection with the leasing, rental or use of three or more apartment units, the rental price of which is regulated pursuant to the provisions of federal, state or local law,
  2. He solicits, accepts or agrees to accept from one or more persons in three separate transactions some consideration of value,
  3. Knowing that such consideration is in addition to lawful rental and other lawful charges established pursuant to the provisions of such federal, state or local law, AND
  4. Upon an agreement or understanding that the furnishing of such consideration will increase the possibility that any person may obtain or renew the lease, rental or use of such property, or that a failure to furnish it will decrease the possibility that any person may obtain or renew same, and thereby obtains such consideration from one or more persons.

Penalties and Sentencing for Rent Gouging in the First Degree

New York Rent Gouging in the First Degree is a Class “E” Non-violent felony. As such, this particular charge is punishable by:

  • Indeterminate sentence up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison;
  • Determinate sentence of 1 year or less;
  • Probation;
  • Conditional discharge (with conditions like community service or restitution set by the Court);
  • Unconditional discharge (no condition set by the Court);
  • Split sentence (jail time up to 6 months, rest of the sentence on probation).

Contact Top Rated New York Rent Gouging Attorneys

If you or your loved one is has been charged with New York Rent Gouging, you need to consult experienced criminal defense counsel. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.