Housing Update: Rent Hikes Are Coming, 17 New Bills for Tenants and the City’s Worst Evictors

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Sadef Ali Kully

Tenant groups were pushing for a rent freeze.

Here’s the housing news you might have missed this week:

• The city council passed 17 bills aimed at protecting tenants against harassment and displacement. One bill would deny work permits to buildings with multiple violations.

• A new website lists landlords who evicted the most tenants in areas where the city’s Right to Counsel law applies. The Worst Evictors List was created by the Right to Counsel Coalition, JustFix.nyc and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. The findings show that evictions fell faster in areas where Right to Counsel is in effect than they did city-wide.  84% of tenants who had an attorney through the Right to Counsel program stayed in their homes, one organizer behind the project said. 

Members of the Right to Counsel Coalition rallied Thursday in front of the Bronx Housing Court to call out the Morgan Group, a Bronx landlord that has brought 889 lawsuits against tenants in the past two and a half years.

• The NYS Senate Housing Committee will hold hearings on rent laws in Brooklyn, Albany, Syracuse and Newburgh between now and May 23.  The senate is considering nine bills that would update the rent laws set to expire in June.

• The city’s Rent Guidelines Board voted Tuesday night to consider rent increases within the range of 0.5 to 2.75 percent for one-year leases and 1.5 to 3.75 percent for two-year leases on rent-stabilized apartments.

• Newly released data shows that preferential rents—what happens when a landlord charges a stabilized unit less than the maximum allowable rent—are rising faster than they used to. Tenant advocates have long sought limits to raising such rents.

• The city is considering closing 12 senior clubs at NYCHA properties in an effort to save money. More than 500 NYCHA seniors rallied on Tuesday outside of City Hall calling on the Mayor to dedicate what they say was a promised $500 million towards building senior housing.

• Politico reports that plans to develop private apartments at an East Williamsburg NYCHA site have been postponed.

• Rezonings transform NYC neighborhoods—but the city doesn’t meaningfully study their impact, according to Curbed. Their story takes a look at four bills that would mandate the city study the impact of rezonings on displacement, school capacity and transportation and compare those findings with earlier predictions.

• A coalition of landlord groups is spending big on an ad campaign targeting tenants rallying for rent reform. The group, which includes The Real Estate Board of New York and the Rent Stabilization Association, has spent over $700,000 calling for “responsible rent reform” and plans to spend more.

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