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Medgar Evers College is the site of a hearing in Brooklyn on May 16.

 

 

With the date for state rent laws to expire approaching, the Senate Majority announced Monday a series of public hearings will be held on rent regulation and tenant protection issues.

Housing advocacy and tenant rights groups have been pushing since last year to expand rent regulations and tenant protections while landlord groups launched a campaign in March for “responsible rent reform.”.

The NYS Senate Housing Committee will hold hearings in Brooklyn, Albany, Syracuse and Newburgh where public testimony will be accepted before the expiration of the state rent laws on June 15.

The hearings will be held:

  • Thursday, May 9, from 4:00-8:00 PM in Syracuse at the Danforth Middle School, 309 West Brighton Ave, Syracuse, NY 13205.
  • Thursday, May 16, from 1:00-8:00 PM in Brooklyn at Medgar Evers College, 1650 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225.
  • Wednesday, May 22, from 1:00-8:00 PM in Albany at the Legislative Office Building.
  • Thursday, May 23, from 2:30-8:00 PM in the Hudson Valley at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center, 321 South William Street, Newburgh, NY 12550.

Below are the nine proposals for rent regulations reforms headed to the legislative floor for a vote:

  • Expand the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (S5040/A7046) across the state to regulate rents and evictions during a housing emergency, which is when there is a vacancy rate of 5 percent or less. The current laws only apply to Nassau, Westchester and Rockland counties and New York City counties.
  • Prohibiting evictions “without good cause” (S2892/A5030). “Good cause” is a legal term that does not allow an action without substantial grounds or reason to take place. For example, if a landlord  raises the rent a significant amount and the tenant cannot pay the new rent, the landlord would have to prove the increase was a necessity.
  • End vacancy decontrol (S2591/A1198) which currently allows a  rent-stabilized unit leaves the program if its rent exceeds $2,774.76 or the tenant-household’s income exceeds $200,000.
  • Eliminating the vacancy bonus (S185/A2351) which allows landlords to boost rent by 20 percent every time a lease changes hands.
  • Make preferential rents permanent until vacancy (S2845A/A4349). Preferential rents occur when an owner charges less than the legal rent–creating the threat of a sudden, massive increase in rent far larger than the year-to-year increases approved by the city’s Rent Guidelines Board. (The city’s Independent Budget Office today reported that the vast majority of apartments with preferential rents retain such rents year to year and do not face the sudden increases advocates have focused on.)
  • End rent hikes for “major capital improvements” (S3693/A6322) which currently permit property owners to hike rents so as to cover the reported expenses from building-wide renovations.
  • End rent hikes for “individual apartment improvements” (S3770/A6465) which currently permit property owners to hike rents so as to cover the reported expenses from apartment-specific renovations.
  • Extend time for overcharge complaints (S4169/A5251). This would would eliminate the statute of limitations for rent-stabilized tenants to file rent overcharge complaints. Currently, tenants must file a complaint against a landlord within a four-year period.
  • Rent control and rent stabilization increase cap (S299A/A167). This measure would put conditions on the maximum rent increases eligible for rent controlled and rent stabilized apartments. It would also require the Department of Housing and Community Renewal to cap the percentage rent increase available to owners of rent-controlled apartments at a rate on par with recent Rent Guidelines Board adjustments for one-year renewal leases.

One thought on “Tenants, Landlords Will Testify on New York’s Rent Laws

  1. The ridiculous laws proposed by the State is guaranteed to bring about the collapse of the NYC economy. I’ll explain.

    Unfortunately this needs to be explained because of the illiterate politicians that we elected to destruct our economy are so busy misleading the public about housing.

    It had become commonplace for peopleto assume that all landlords in NYC are millionaires which is absolutely false. Lots of them are struggling with aging buildings that need improvement. Removing mold, asbestos and just regular updates to these buildings are very expensive.

    The improvements made benefit the tenants, in the case of MCI it may mean changing plumbing to stop frequent leaks, or beautifying a lobby and hallway to make it more inviting. If that would be eliminated, no landlord would ever have incentive to spend on pretty light fixtures or expensive paints.
    In the case of IAI this is the same thing, landlords wont have incentive to improve apartments with nice kitchens and vanities or high quality faucets and lighting. Resulting in further deterioration of buildings and was happening in the 70’s and 80’s.
    Furthermore, the elimination or reduction of these programs are certain to take a toll on thousands of construction workers and handymans who earn their living from these programs and reducing spending on improvements and building supplies by billions of dollars annually. No longer will a landlord purchase a $700 vanity or $1,000 countertop, rent stabilized properties will plummet in value, causing a direct loss of economic activity, sales tax, and transfer tax.

    And all will be in the name of helping the tenant who’s a tile layer and instead of helping him will lose his job.

    When that happens NYC as we know it is over. Some will wake up then, the illiterate politicians will say we should’ve killed the landlords… Heil!

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