FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 13, 2014
Assembly Passes Legislation to Protect Tenants and Preserve Affordable Housing
Speaker Sheldon Silver joined with Assemblymember Keith L.T. Wright, chair of the Housing Committee, today to announce the passage of a
series of bills that will strengthen rent regulations and increase New Yorkers' access to affordable housing.
"This legislation will preserve and strengthen New York's rent laws ensuring that housing remains affordable for working families. The Assembly Majority is taking another step toward addressing the housing crisis by preventing residents from being priced out of their homes and out of the New York City area," said Silver.
"The shrinking of affordable housing stock is driving up homelessness in New York City. We must prevent the erosion of affordable housing to ensure that low- and middle-income families can remain in their communities. The measures approved by the Assembly will protect generations of New Yorkers from skyrocketing housing costs and arbitrary evictions," said Wright. "I hope these bills receive swift passage in the New York State Senate."
Several studies demonstrate that over 300,000 rent-stabilized apartments have been removed from regulation in New York City and the surrounding metro area. Legislation approved by the Assembly would preserve and restore much-needed affordable housing units to help working families remain in their neighborhoods.
Initiatives to preserve and strengthen rent protections for affordable housing include:
- extending eviction and rent protection to those tenants living in former federal project-based section 8 buildings, even if the building was
constructed after 1974 (A.5828/Wright);
- protecting former Mitchell-Lama buildings by requiring that these buildings become rent-stabilized to provide rent and eviction protection,
ensuring that housing created through the Mitchell-Lama program remains affordable (A.4051/Pretlow);
- limiting a building owner's ability to recover a rent-regulated apartment for personal use
- requiring an owner of a rent-regulated unit to comply with an order issued more than four years prior to an overcharge complaint and
require a complaint of fraud be reviewed by the Division of Housing and Community Renewal regardless of whether the fraud began more than
four years prior to the complaint (A.748/Rosenthal).
Unit vacancy protections include measures to:
- repeal vacancy decontrol laws that permit landlords to remove apartments from regulation that become vacant and rent at or above
$2,500 per month (A.1585/Rosenthal);
- reduce the amount a landlord could increase rent on a vacated apartment from 20 percent to 7.5 percent
- protect tenants with preferential rent agreements from exorbitant rent increases when a lease is renewed
Legislation to address major capital improvements (MCI) and rent adjustments would:
- require rent surcharges authorized for MCI to cease when the cost of the improvement has been recovered
- reduce a landlord's MCI rent increase by the total amount of tax abatement benefits received under the J-51 program to prevent unnecessary
rent increases (A.5827/Wright); and
- extend the length of time a landlord must own a rental property before it is eligible for an alternative hardship rent adjustment from three
years to six years (A.2181/Kavanagh).
Actions related to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board Action would:
- require the New York City Council to confirm the Mayor's appointees to the Rent Guidelines Board and expand the experience required
for an individual to be appointed (A.104-B/Kavanagh); and
- prevent the Rent Guidelines Board from adjusting rent in the absence of legislative authorization