Legal Aid Praises NYC Council for Introducing Nuisance Abatement Fairness Act

New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, along with Council Members Vanessa Gibson, Corey Johnson, Mark Levine, Ritchie Torres, Karen Koslowitz, Daniel Garodnick, Barry Grodenchik, Rafael Salamanca, Donovan Richards, Stephen Levin and Jumaane Williams today announced the introduction of the Nuisance Abatement Fairness Act (NAFA), a package of legislation to reform New York City’s Nuisance Abatement Law (NAL). Created in 1977, the NAL established a legal framework which permits the City to expeditiously shut down residential and commercial establishments that are deemed to be “nuisances.”

“These bills eliminate the City’s ability to bar someone from their home with no notice as well as adding important other protections,” said Adriene Holder, Attorney in Charge, Civil Practice, The Legal Aid Society. “These are an important first step to restoring due process to low income New Yorkers faced with seizure of their homes. We applaud the Council for moving forward with these bills. We hope that in the future the Council will consider eliminating this unconstitutional remedy altogether.”

The law has more recently been targeted at residences in which drug sales are allegedly occurring, or at commercial establishments that allegedly sell alcohol to minors. Unfortunately, there has been uneven enforcement of the laws and some well-documented abuses, and New Yorkers have improperly lost their homes and businesses. The package of 13 bills will be heard by the City Council Public Safety Committee on November 2nd at City Hall, at 10:00 AM in Council Chambers.