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Harassed Tenants Introduce the Dead Cat Defense

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There has been a lot of back and forth between tenant advocates and landlord groups over the controversial legislation that allows renters to sue their landlords over harassment. The Tenant Protection Act, as it's called, has already been invoked a few times by rent-stabilized tenants who say their landlords are trying to force them out, and the Rent Stabilization Association (a landlord group) is suing on the grounds that "harassment" is a vague and subjective term. Enter the bag of dead cats. At 64 Troutman Street in Bushwick, a building that?by the look of its PropertyShark photo?lies on a bombed-out block in Sarajevo, the tenants say their landlord tore up the sidewalks and left trash in the halls after the residents refused a buyout. But because this case is being cited by politicians as one that proves the Tenant Protection Act is necessary, there's a twist, reports the Sun.

According to Daisy Terry, a resident of 64 Troutman St., she and her neighbors became concerned that there was a dead body in a vacant first-floor apartment after a grotesque odor began to fill the building over the course of some weeks. "I had to hold my nose just to walk downstairs," Ms. Terry said yesterday at a press conference in City Hall.

Inspectors from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development later discovered a bag of dead, rotting cats.

Of course, it's unclear who put the bag of dead cats in the vacant apartment, or even how many dead cats we're talking about (certainly two or three is a reasonable number). A spokesman for the Rent Stabilization Association told the Sun, "There are already 10 laws on the books that would have covered that. All this law is going to do is clog up the courts. It will encourage people to make frivolous claims, and legitimate tenants will take a backseat to those without a legitimate claim." Ten laws covering bags of dead cats? Is the State Senate run by a bunch of senile old widows?
· Quinn Touts the Benefits Of Tenants Protection Law [Sun]